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03 Nefertiti and Digital Colonialism

an interesting article on a famous bust of Nefertiti exported by German archaeologists at the turn of the last century… European and American museums house a large amount of antiquities from Africa and other continents, many exported from their countries of origin illegally or under marginally legal circumstances… Europe held the power cards at the time…

A black and white photo of the bust of Nefertiti from a postcard available from the Staatliches Museum, Berlin, Germany (1956) reveals how and why color photography would have been key in the inspection of the Amarna finds in 1912 (image by Brück & Sohn via Wikimaedia Commons).

… the article discusses the impact of colonialism on even the present day digital copies of antiquities with interesting anecdotes on things like the refusal of European institutions to train natives as archaeologists…

Whether in the Antebellum South or in 19th century Egypt, White control over the literacy of marginalized persons has always been a tactic for control. Egyptology did not begin to be decolonized and to encourage the training of native Egyptians within the Antiquities Service until the 1920s. French oversight within the Antiquities Service in Egypt did not end until 1952, after almost a century of colonial control. Mostafa Amer, its first Egyptian director, was appointed in 1953.1