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Archaeology in the reign of Amanullah: the difficult birth of a national heritage

Annick Fenet 1
1 Hellénismes d’Asie et civilisations orientales
AOROC - Archéologie et Philologie d'Orient et d'Occident
Abstract : This chapter focuses on the beginnings of archaeological excavations in Afghanistan to show how the rediscovery of an ancient, pre-Islamic heritage beneath the soils of Afghanistan helped provide new intellectual resources for the creation of a modern nation state. Drawing on rich archival research, the chapter focuses on the work of the Délégation archéologique française en Afghanistan (DAFA), which was established France in 1922 and began field excavations in Afghanistan shortly thereafter. Emerging as a joint enterprise of French archaeologists (several of whom had previously worked in France’s own Asian colonies), the diplomats of the Quai d’Orsay and the modernist nation-building cadre of the Afghan government, the DAFA was the earliest of the many transnational organizations that would subsequently prove so influential in the construction of the concrete and intellectual fabric of modern Afghanistan. In being established just three years after the declaration of Afghan independence after the Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919, the DAFA quickly found its investigations being subsumed into the new nationalist vision being propounded by its chief Afghan patron, King Amanullah Khan.
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Annick Fenet. Archaeology in the reign of Amanullah: the difficult birth of a national heritage. Green, Nile. Afghan history through Afghan eyes, Hurst Publishers, pp.131-160 et 297-301, 2015. ⟨halshs-01566836⟩

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