Roman and Native

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Roman and Native – Colonialism and the archaeology of rural water management in the Maghred

Lena Johansson De Château

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  • Published 2009
  • Isbn 9789150620603
  • Type Paperback
  • 194 pages
  • English

This thesis considers the archaeology of rural water management in the Maghreb in relation to modern colonialism. An attempt is made to recover the attitudes to people and landscape expressed in the archaeological literature, and to analyse them in a colonial/postcolonial context. The primary focus lies on works relating to early water management in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.

The study consists of three parts. In the first part, colonial legacies in the archaeology of the rural Maghreb are considered, and the archaeological material related to rural water management is summarised. Common issues of geography, history and archaeology with relevance to the study of ancient water management are addressed. In the second and main part of the thesis, a selection of archaeological works are examined with respect to the representation of Roman and indigenous people and attitudes to landscape. The three chapters deal respectively with early colonial writings from the turn of the nineteenth century, post-Second World War writings from the late 1940s through the 1950s, and archaeological survey publications produced during the period of political independence in the Maghreb, from c. 1960 to the present. In the last part of the study, the survey of archaeological scholarship on rural water management is brought together in a concluding analysis of its relation to modern colonialism, including the process of decolonisation. The production of knowledge, the ideologies of nationalism and colonialism, the use of stereotypes in representing the Other, and Western attitudes to landscape manifest in the archaeological writings are brought forward. Finally, the concept of creolisation is suggested as an alternative interpretive framework for rural water management in the Roman-period Maghreb.