Incidental Archaeologists: French Officers and the Rediscovery of Roman North Africa
Published by: Cornell University Press
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Published: December 2021
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Page Count: 396 Pages
Illustrations: 42 b&w halftones, 1 map
Dimensions: 6.00 x 8.90
396 Pages, 6.00 x 8.90 x 1.00 in, 42 b&w halftones, 1 map
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In Incidental Archaeologists, Bonnie Effros examines the archaeological contributions of nineteenth-century French military officers, who, raised on classical accounts of warfare and often trained as cartographers, developed an interest in the Roman remains they encountered when commissioned in the colony of Algeria. By linking the study of the Roman past to French triumphant narratives of the conquest and occupation of the Maghreb, Effros demonstrates how Roman archaeology in the forty years following the conquest of the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers and Constantine in the 1830s helped lay the groundwork for the creation of a new identity for French military and civilian settlers.
Effros uses France?s violent colonial war, its efforts to document the ancient Roman past, and its brutal treatment of the region?s Arab and Berber inhabitants to underline the close entanglement of knowledge production with European imperialism. Significantly, Incidental Archaeologists shows how the French experience in Algeria contributed to the professionalization of archaeology in metropolitan France.
Effros demonstrates how the archaeological expeditions undertaken by the French in Algeria and the documentation they collected of ancient Roman military accomplishments reflected French confidence that they would learn from Rome?s technological accomplishments and succeed, where the Romans had failed, in mastering the region.
Introduction: War and the Destruction of Antiquities in the Former Ottoman Empire
1. Knowing and Controlling: Early Archaeological Exploration in the Algerian Colony
2. Envisioning the Future: French Generals' Use of Ancient Rome in the 1840s
3. The View from Ancient Lambaesis
4. Institutionalizing Algerian Archaeology
5. Cartography and Field Archaeology during the Second Empire
Epilogue: Classical Archaeology in Algeria after 1870
"Incidental Archaeologists offers an in-depth, rigorous archival exploration that, while providing a clear history to archaeological policy under the French in Algeria, also uncovers its links to affective relationships to the past, the construction of the racialized and colonized other, and the many forms of violence that are attendant with colonial force and often glossed as 'pacification."Antiquity
"Incidental Archaeologists will likely remain the main reference on the impact of the Roman imperial legacy in French Algeria for quite some time. Through an admirable engagement with the archives and the existing literature, Effros has provided invaluable depth to the well-known influence of the Roman model on French colonial officers."Modern & Contemporary France
"Incidental Archaeologists makes a valuable addition to the historiography on imperializing archaeology, which continues to reveal how the agents of European empires engaged with antiquities in foreign lands... Effros also makes a contribution to the study of classics and colonialism."H-France Reviews
"More than anyone before, Effros lays bare how deeply enmeshed the largely self- appointed French custodians of Algeria's Roman past?most of them military officers?were in deeply destructive forces.... Incidental Archaeologists offers the most complete account of how archaeological endeavors became part of French efforts to occupy and colonize Algeria. ... It should find avid readers among all those interested in the intersecting histories of archaeology, public memory, and colonialism, not only in Algeria."American Historical Review