Cornelia Kleinitz and Claudia Näser, "Archaeology, development and conflict: a case study from the African continent", in: Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress, 9-1. Special Issue: Archaeology in Conflict and Archaeology of Conflict (26 Apr 2013), 162–191


Apart from wars, other contexts of social conflict have recently become a setting in which archaeologists are faced with acute, sometimes armed, violence. On the African continent, a region often overlooked in discussions of “archaeology in conflict”, rapid economic development has led to several such scenes. The paper discusses a particularly poignant example from the Middle Nile valley in Sudan, where large dam projects have been met with various levels of opposition by affected populations. Local communities opposing the construction of further planned dams on the Nile are increasingly stressing “cultural survival’ and fear of “developmental genocide’ as two of their major motivations for fighting these projects. Assuming a close link between the developer and archaeological salvage missions, affected people have started to use the expulsion of salvage teams from their territory as a strategy of resistance—posing an ethical dilemma for the archaeologists who struggle to find a position in the increasingly violent controversies accompanying these contested development projects.

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