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5 Epigraphy, Topography and Mapping

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Chapter Summary

Inscriptions are very plentiful in North Africa, and have naturally been the subject of much scholarly attention. An index of French interest in epigraphy is the copying of stones in hostile country. Frequently, soldiers came across inscriptions as they built or tidied up their camps, or made a halt while on campaign. Map-making is always an essential tool of colonial control as well as of scholarship. Mapping involving antiquities began in France in the 18th century. It may even be that the vogue for archaeological knowledge amongst the military may have developed after the production of the Carte Générale de la France, called the Carte de l'Académie, which was funded by an Act of Association in 1756. The mapping requirements of the army in Algeria went hand-in-hand, then, with the exploration of the antique remains, especially inscriptions, and those remains were important way-points and even refuges for the hard-pressed military.

Keywords: Algeria; Carte de l'Académie; epigraphy; France; mapping



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