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The answer to this question might be trivial, since the Stellar foundation history archives might be always available, but I am just trying to understand how the full syncing works.

Could I complete a full sync without downloading the archives just by querying historical ledgers from other peers? If the central history buckets would be abandoned, would it still be possible to fully catch-up?

3

The answer is No.

You are correct: history archives are a required component for the network to function properly; without them you can't even join the network.

See this document for the reasons behind this.

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