The birth of archaeology
The 19th century saw the birth of systematic archaeology. Europeans searched for their cultural roots at home and abroad. New fields of study were created: classical archaeology, Egyptology, Assyriology, and biblical archaeology.

Excavations in the Arab and Ottoman world were fundamental. A growing appreciation of pre-classical art broke the monopoly that Greek art had previously held on the public taste.

Archaeology and colonialism were inescapably connected. French and Italian soldiers identified with their Roman imperial predecessors. They drew maps, published discoveries in scholarly papers, and used aeroplanes for a new type of archaeological survey.

Germany advised the Ottomans on a new railway, opening new areas for archaeology. But were the archaeologists also spying? T. E. Lawrence “of Arabia”, recruited by British military intelligence, encouraged the Arab Revolt.
Ruins of Cherchell


Musée Public National des Antiquités, Algiers, Algeria

Scholars systematically made drawings and plans of ancient sites.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
The birth of archaeology
The formation of museums
Inspired by the past