As an academic discipline, archaeology is deeply rooted in the cultural, social, and political practices of Western Europe of the nineteenth century. The emergence of local scholarly communities in other parts of the continent tends to be described as a process that saw the even spread of ideas and concepts in their original form. This further implies a uniform, unilinear sequence of paradigms (culture-historical, processual, postprocessual), each with their own internal logic. However, more often than not, these transfers of disciplinary knowledge from one academic community to the other have introduced distortions of the original concepts, designed to meet the demands of the different cultural and intellectual traditions and research agendas. In this article, we explore the foundation of academic archaeology in Serbia and of the pivotal figure in this process – Miloje M. Vasić, educated at German universities and considered to be the first academically trained archaeologist in the country. His adaptations of the German tradition of Classical scholarship applied to the study of the Balkan past have marked the theory and practice of archaeology in the country up to the present. This example indicates that we should seek to explore the ways in which the concepts we apply in our study of the past are articulated in particular local settings if we are to achieve a better understanding among various academic and professional communities of archaeologists across Europe.