The “Maîtres” of Archaeology in Eastern Turkestan: Divide et Impera

in “Masters” and “Natives”

Abstract

Russian archaeological expeditions were undertaken in Eastern Turkestan from 1899 to 1915 under the directorship of D.A. Klementz, M.M. Berezovsky, and S.F. Oldenburg. The beginning of the Russian scholars’ work pushed other countries to send their expeditions to modern Xinjiang. At first, the archaeological exploration of Eastern Turkestan seemed to be a joint project of all the countries interested in participating. However, the start of the work was accompanied by efforts to divide the region and overt conflicts between the expeditions. The main reason for the conflicts was not only a violation of the agreements about the partition of the sites but also a difference in approaching the study of the past of such a distant region as Eastern Turkestan, in the means and aims of archaeological excavations. Thus, one of the most “idealistic” projects in the sciences of antiquity failed.

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