On settler future pasts: Caroline Ford, ‘The Inheritance of Empire and the Ruins of Rome in French Colonial Algeria’, Past & Present, 226, 10, 2015 pp. 57-77
Excerpt: In 1912 Albert Ballu, chief architect of the Service des Monuments Historiques de L’Alge’rie, described the ‘triple task’ of the Service, which had been established in 1880—fifty years after the beginning of France’s conquest of Algeria—as that of not only excavating the ‘secrets’ that the ground contained, but also of ‘making them presentable to the public’ and
of ‘preserving them from destruction.’ France was not alone in embarking on this archaeological project that sought to explore an antique and more particularly a Roman past in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, but Algeria came to occupy a special place in the French historical imagination. […] What made the French archaeological forays in Algeria unique, however, was their focus first on Algeria’s Roman and Christian antiquities, which came to be appropriated as both a French and Mediterranean patrimoine, and which in turn shaped the identity of the growing settler population, before they later turned their attention to a patrimoine mauresque (pp. 57-58).
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