How does archaeology interact with Imperialism, Colonialism and Nationalism? Have they contributed to archaeology in any manner? Discuss with illustrations.

When we look at the history of the archeology, it can be said that the archeology have ever been a portion of political activities nevertheless the most sensational and the conspicuous clip of this interaction between archeology and the political relations can be dated after the Gallic Revolution. With the Gallic Revolution, the patriotism political orientation raised and fleetly spread around the universe with industrialisation. At the first unit of ammunition, lifting Nationalism awaken the wonder of the people about their ethnicity. With this wonder, people focused ethnicity researches to happen out their beginnings and for this ground many archaeologist take a topographic point in this pursuit. Governments started to back up the archeological diggings and many institutes started to be opened and many archeology pupils started to be educated. In this mode, archaeologists’ involvement began to turn form historic times to pre- historic times. With the outgrowth of Darwinian evolutionary theory, all these ethnicity research and the focal point on the pre-historic diggings prepared foundation of Colonialism and Imperialism.

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Patriotism is defined by Trigger as “an all encompassing sense of group individuality and trueness to a common fatherland that is promoted by mass media, widespread literacy, and a comprehensive educational system.” ( Trigger, 2007 ) . As a consequence of Nationalism, in the 18th and 19th C. , the ethnicity construct gained a important function among the most European provinces and they started to courage pre- historic archeologist to analyze the beginnings and early cultural groups.

Although all the European provinces made archeology which serves to the chauvinistic political orientation, for me the most dramatic and passionate surveies are done by Germans who carried patriotism into the fascism degree in the Word War II. With the constitution of German Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistoric Archaeology, Germans began to be professional in the pre-historic archeology and they introduced culture-historical attack to the archeology ( Trigger, 2007 ) . For the chauvinistic archeology, Kossina is the most dramatic name for that period in German archeology. He claimed that the Germans are the noblest subject for the archeological research and criticized the archeologists who were analyzing classical and Egyptian archeology ( Trigger, 2007 ) . He seeks for the beginnings of Germans and he wrote “Die Herkunft der Germanen” . He evaluated his archeological informations in a colored manner and this rating encouraged “Germans to see Slavs and other adjacent European peoples as inferior to themselves and which justified German aggression against these people” ( Trigger, 2007 ) . Although Kossina died in 1931, he continued to be effectual on the chauvinistic and racist actions of Germany. For illustration, Nazis supported their discourses by utilizing the plants of Kossina.

As a consequence of the chauvinistic and cultural researches, people became more cognizant of the different nationalities -such as the Gallic, Germans, and English etc. It encouraged believing that the people are biologically different from one another ; therefore their behaviour was determined by these racial differences as opposed to societal or economic factor. This sort of thought led people to believe about “the inequality of the races” . Gobineau, who was a portion monarchist French household, claimed that “the destiny of civilisation was determined by their racial composition” ( Trigger, 2007 ) .

Besides in this clip, Darwin’s evolutionary idea started to interact with the ethnicity oriented and chauvinistic archeology. Darwin claimed that workss and animate beings pass on their features to their offspring nevertheless different offspring vary from each other. He believed that some of these offspring suited to their environment than others. This thought was explicating enormous assortment and the complexness of the natural universe. He published his thoughts in “Origins of Species” . This book was extremely effectual on the Herbert Spencer who introduced the thought of “survival of the fittest” and applied this position into the archeology to explicate the human societies in uni-linear development construct. He claimed that all human societies move from simple to complex ( Johnson, 2010 ) . As a consequence of this interaction “inequality of races” thought had gained scientific credibleness.

Additionally to these thoughts, in19th century Lubbock suggested that as a consequence of natural subdivision homo groups had become different from each other non merely culturally but besides in their biological capacities to use civilization ( Trigger, 2007 ) . He regarded Europeans as the merchandise of intensive cultural and biological development. His thought used to legalize the British colonisation and the constitution of political and economic control on their settlements. He besides vindicates British and American colonialist from the moral duty for the rapid diminution of native peoples in North America, Australia and the Pasific. This diminution of these peoples was non because of what colonialists were making them but because of the natural choice. This type of mode toward the native people increased the colonialism and the imperialism all over the universe.

As a consequence of colonialism, “historians of archeology have sometimes justified Acts of the Apostless of colonialist trespass in following ethnocentric point of views which presuppose that archeological pieces are better conserved in Western museums.” ( Abadia, 2006 ) . For an illustration, the state of affairs of Elgin marbles can be mentioned in this affair. Evans says, in 1816, Elgin Marbles were brought to the British Museum and all the drawings, digging and the exhibition seashore like ?35,000 to the British authorities. In 1821, Greece separated from Ottoman Empire and it created an eternal contention about the properness of the ‘marbles’ . What is beyond all of this treatment most people think that they would hold great harm if left in their original place ( Abadia, 2006 ) .

With the increasing industrialisation, which is the period innovations and developments, created the thoughts in diffusionism and the migration to explicate the cultural differences in past civilizations. Many of the research workers rejected the civilization development theory. As consequence of this, the thought of psychic integrity, which is introduced by Adolf Bastian, lost its importance. It made racism much more powerful because the belief that every civilization has a possible to develop their civilization is collapsed. The thought that autochthonal people were viewed as biologically inferior to Europeans became much more coagulated. Writers and societal analysts claimed that human existences were non inherently imaginative. If there is a development in civilization it should be a ground of diffusionism or migration. Besides they said that the alteration was of course belong to the human nature and it was non good to people. Therefore it is supported that unchanging societies are the most convenient to human being. In this mode, independent development thought in the cultural alterations ignored and a belief emerged which is peculiar innovations were improbable to be made more than one time in human history. This sort of discourses solidified perceptual experiences about the barbarian people lower status.

In the United States, the ‘myth of the hill builders’ was aroused and it has been thought that these hills could non hold been built by the Native People of America, who were considered excessively barbarous. Alternatively, they were built by a ‘civilized’ race that disappeared a long clip ago ( Abadia, 2006 ) . When the people see the hills in Zimbawe and research workers claimed that this similarity is the cogent evidence pf prehistoric white colonisation in Southern Africa ( Trigger, 2007 ) .

To sum up, the interaction between archeology and Imperialism, Colonialism and Nationalism developed after the Gallic Revolution. Archaeological surveies and the scientific developments to reply the inquiries in the archeology have been abused by the politicians. The archeological surveies which suit the politician were encouraged and supported financially. Although this mutualness helped the archeological developments, the consequences that archaeology reached had been used to fulfill the patriot, colonialist and imperialist actions.


Abadia, Moro O. 2006. The History of Archaeology as a ‘Colonial Discourse’ .Bulletin of theHistory of Archaeology16 ( 2 ) :4-17

Johnson, Matthew. 2010.Archaeology Theory an Introduction.

Trigger, Bruce. 2007.A History of Archaeological Thought.