Anthropology, Department of


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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 22 (2007). Copyright © Andrew P. McFeaters; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


Between the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, Italian archaeology was greatly influenced by nationalism. The political use of archaeology by the Italian government can be seen in the years following unification and even more so when Benito Mussolini came to power, determined to make a new Italy modeled after the Roman Empire. He planned to do this by enforcing the adoption of ancient Roman culture, but also by resurrecting the Roman past through various archaeological projects to remind the Italians of their heritage. This goal guaranteed a nationalistic approach to the archaeological record, the effects of which are still visible today, especially in Rome. Despite the fact that large sums of money were poured into the archaeological work of this period, the methods and objectives ensured that only a past that could be sold to the masses was a past worth presenting.

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