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Bonnie Effros
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL 32611-0001)
Walking in the Footsteps of the Romans: French Colonial Archaeology in Algeria, 1830-1900

Following the conquest of Algiers in 1830, the French army mined hundreds of ancient Roman monuments for stone to construct barracks, defensive structures, and roads. The destruction of these sites disturbed the classically trained officers who took a lead role in preserving a record of impressive Roman structures by copying ancient inscriptions, sketching desert ruins, and conducting informal excavations. Although these antiquarian activities were known to French administrators overseeing the conquest of Algeria, study of the ancient Roman past in North Africa remained haphazard. This project thus offers a nuanced view of the role of the Roman past in French narratives of the Algerian occupation and the building of a new settler identity linked to its soil. It emphasizes the importance of colonial archives from French-occupied Algeria for rewriting the history of the discipline of archaeology, since archaeological endeavors in colonial and metropolitan France were deeply intertwined.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
European History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013