The British Department of Antiquities (DOA) in Palestine intentionally constructed historical discontinuities to distance British rule from its Ottoman predecessor and tie it instead to earlier periods in the history of the land. To do this, however, the DOA had to unwittingly rely upon, and revalidate, political and cultural patterns laid by the Ottomans in the age of reforms. The article exposes this dynamic by delving into the written and visual record of the DOA in one of its first preservation projects in the "Tower of Ramleh." The case of the tower as a multifaceted ruin shows that the "post-Ottoman" historical framing for the twentieth-century Middle East is not merely a matter of analytic investigation in hindsight, but a reality acknowledged and shaped by historical actors. It reveals thus far hidden agendas of the British rule in Palestine and enables the re-introduction of the history erased by it.


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pp. 91-114
Launched on MUSE
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