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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Since its inception, African archaeology has been influenced and harnessed by various political ideologies. From European colonialism, to African nationalism and the celebration of an African past, African archaeology has been used for ideological legitimation. More recently, archaeologists working in Africa have reflected on the political nature of the discipline. This includes the identification and incorporation of indigenous knowledge systems, something that is, in turn, leading to new indigenous archaeological drivers. African archaeology thus continues to exist in overtly political contexts. Yet, archaeological interpretation is not simply dictated by political biases. It may also be influenced by methodological, logistical, and theoretical developments, as well as by the availability and nature of archaeological data. While this article describes political trends in African archaeology, it also recognises that its history is the product of non-political factors.

Keywords: African archaeology, European colonialism, colonial era biases, political ideologies, African nationalism

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