Palmyra and the Political History of Archaeology in Syria: from Colonialists to Nationalists

Thank you for sharing this with me; it takes us beyond war torn Syria to history of colonialism (British, French, German) now US and Russia but the difference here are jets; drones that destroy from the sky. I would have wanted The White Helmets to have received the Nobel Peace Award but then the wars are savage now; and the World just looks on. Detente is the way forward. Michelle

Adonis Diaries

Palmyra and the Political History of Archaeology in Syria: from Colonialists to Nationalists

The Sun of Syria’s power went down in might,
On Freedom’s tree there rained a withering blight,
Glory to proud Palmyra sighed adieu
And o’er her shrines Destruction’s angel flew.

‘Palmyra’, Nicholas Michell (1807-1880) 

‘Palmyra’ (Tadmor), as it exists within western imagination, was not destroyed in 2014 by ‘ISIS’(Daesh). Palmyra, and for that matter all archaeological remains in non-European countries, have always represented abandon and decay to the colonial explorer/tourist/academic –despite the fact that many of these ruins were inhabited at the moment of their ‘discovery’.

The renewed destruction of monuments at Palmyra by Daesh led to an international outcry and social media frenzy; images of piles of disjointed architecture suddenly became clickbait, a surprise for the archaeologist whose interests in ruins is usually deemed nerdy and irrelevant to the present age.

Yet what is…

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