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A term now confined to archaeology, and synonymous with the modern geopolitical meaning of Middle East.

Originally the Near East was the Balkans and Asia Minor (Anatolia), and the Far East was China and Japan. The regions between these, India and its neighbours from Persia to Thailand, were called the Middle East, quite logically.

The archaeologist's Near East was then extended to included other archaeologically interesting areas near the east of the Mediterranean, such as Palestine-Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, all of whose civilizations continually interacted. Also logically enough.

The encroachment of the term Middle East into its present geographical position is to be deplored; since the old division was much clearer.