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Do we have a conspiracy fronted by an amateur archeologist, backed by the Bosnian Government in an attempt to build national identity and improve the economy; or are we dealing with an international elite oppressing and censoring a small war torn country trying to promote and preserve a crucial aspect of heritage that turns conventional wisdom on it's head?

The former but possibly without the conspiracy: being too in love with an idea and without scientific rigour can be enough. There is a long history of history moulded to back up the ideology of the current regime, and a shorter history of moulding history and archaeology to national mythology. A good example is what we know about a truly ancient civilisation, China: the official line is that it is like a tree with everything going back to a single neolithic culture along the Yellow River, but I read multiple times that research into separate ancient cultures along the Yangtze River and the southern seacoast have been suppressed or compromised.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 01:28:40 PM EST
I just remembered that years ago, I read up on the history of steppe people, which included a site by a Chinese historian who essentially claimed that every nomadic tribe somehow descended from China and treated any claims to the contrary as lies motivated by Western imperialism.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 01:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So obviously the Tocharians migrated all the way to future Celticland, developed red hair, blue eyes,  an Indo-European language, and tartan kilts, and then got terribly homesick and decided to come all the way back again. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 02:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing I remember may well have been about the Yuezhi (the tribe mentioned in Chinese records usually identified with the Tocharians): that Chinese historian claimed that the mirror-translation of colours related to the hair, skin or eyes of people in ancient Chinese texts is out of context and refers to variation on a much lesser scale...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 03:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably that's why the mummified Tocharians were kept hidden from non-Chinese archeologists for so long.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I've read of Central Asian history, it seems like white people used to live on the steppes, until the Chinese kicked their asses and displaced them further West.  I really don't see why that story is bad for Chinese national pride.
by Zwackus on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 06:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't get Chinese nationalism. China isn't/wasn't a colonialist empire, conquests weren't conquests: all parts of China were always Chinese, it's just that some parts were brought back under the fold of central government. Think of Tibet for example.

Meanwhile, disregarding his insistence on tracking back every tribe to a Chinese root, the idea I got away from reading this guy's history was that the steppes were the ultimate melting pot: all the tribal kingdoms/empires were short-lived and then the constituent tribe broke up upon wandering, clans joined other tribes, women were taken, alliances were made regularly. (The ultimate end of this was when Ghenghis Khan merged several tribes into the "Mongols".) It also convinced me that the direct connection between the Mongols raiding the Roman Empire in the 4th century CE and the Xingnu Empire battling Han Dynasty China since the 2nd century BC was likely via a few clans at best.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 07:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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