By Magdalino Paul
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Extra resources for Constantinople Médiévale
In many newly independent countries, forms of nationalist archaeology are strongest amongst peoples who feel threatened, insecure, or deprived of their political rights by more powerful nations, or in countries where appeals for national unity are being made to counteract serious divisions along class or ethnic lines. Nationalist archaeology tends to emphasize the more recent past, and to draw attention to visible, monumental architecture and centralized political structures. Earlier prehistory, or the archaeology of small-scale preliterate communities, tends to be ignored by nationalist archaeology.
Aung Thaw, trained at the School of Archaeology of the Archaeological Survey of India at Dehra Dun, brought modern field methods to the study of early Burma. His excavations at Beikthano, and speedy publication of his discoveries, remain a lonely beacon amid the rather gloomy scene of the archaeology of early Burma. The historian, Michael Aung Thwin has argued that, given the situation in Burma in the years following independence, “prehistory was a luxury the country could ill afford,” and priority had to be given to the great monuments of the medieval period.
A learned society on the model of the Royal Asiatic Society, the Société des Etudes Indochinoises was founded in Saigon in 1865 to provide a forum for colonials and administrators to learn about their new acquisition; however, it was only with the establishment of the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) between 1898 and 1900 that a sustained archaeological program for the investigation of pre- and protohistory was possible. ) of central and southern Vietnam. The French scholars who had earlier introduced archaeology into Indochina were working within the liberal tradition of European scholarship and did not, I am sure, see their work as nothing more than an intellectual prop for a quite ruthless extractive colonial regime.