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The Asian side of the world - II

Jean-François Sabouret

Part Three. Constructing theories

Some thoughts on the role and tools of archaeology in Japan

Laurent Nespoulous

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August 2012

The discipline of archaeology established itself progressively during the “long 19th century” (from the end of the 18th century to 1914) in western Europe. It thus developed in the context of the building of European nations. This was also the case in Japan from the last third of the 19th century. The slow growth of this “science of remains” would bring original perspectives to the immemorial past of humanity, to history before written history, in a time when some of the people entering the “modern” 19th century were precisely looking for a political identity, a national consciousness.

Whether one is dealing with “our ancestors the Gauls” or with the tombs of the legendary sovereigns of Japan makes no difference: the main goal is to find the roots, in a remote past minimally described in written documents (if any), leading to something completely new: the nation and the official state framework that relies on it. Archaeology, opening new horizons in knowledge of the past, ...

© CNRS Éditions, 2015

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