About Antiquities: Politics of Archaeology in the Ottoman by Zeynep Çelik

By Zeynep Çelik

Antiquities were pawns in empire-building and worldwide rivalries; energy struggles; assertions of nationwide and cultural identities; and cross-cultural exchanges, cooperation, abuses, and misunderstandings—all with the underlying component of monetary achieve. certainly, “who owns antiquity?” is a contentious query in lots of of today’s foreign conflicts.

About Antiquities deals an interdisciplinary research of the connection among archaeology and empire-building round the flip of the 20th century. beginning at Istanbul and concentrating on antiquities from the Ottoman territories, Zeynep Çelik examines the preferred discourse surrounding claims to the prior in London, Paris, Berlin, and ny. She compares and contrasts the studies of 2 museums—Istanbul’s Imperial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—that aspired to emulate ecu collections and achieve the status and gear of possessing the cloth fragments of historical historical past. Going past associations, Çelik additionally unravels the advanced interactions between individuals—Westerners, Ottoman determination makers and officers, and native laborers—and their competing stakes in antiquities from such mythical websites as Ephesus, Pergamon, and Babylon.

Recovering views which have been misplaced in histories of archaeology, rather these of the excavation workers whose voices have by no means been heard, About Antiquities presents very important old context for present controversies surrounding nation-building and the possession of the past.

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Our opulence, . . ”56 By the 1820s, the Montagu House could not accommodate the collection, and in 1823 a new building was commissioned, to be designed by the architect Robert Smirke, whose classical revivalist style was also pursued by his brother, Sydney Smirke, who completed the building in 1852. Other nineteenth-­century additions were the Reading Room (1857) and the White Wing on the southeast side (1879). Two public squares, Russell Square on the northeast and Bedford Square on the southwest, accommodated the visitors, the latter allowing for an unobstructed view of one façade of the museum.

In every state, such antiquities are preserved in special museums. In contrast, antique works are everywhere in Ottoman lands, and one sometimes comes across some very rare and highly esteemed examples [in unexpected places]. ”45 The following laws, passed in 1874, 1884, and 1906, increasingly tightened the control over antiquities and restricted their exportation from degrees of partage to an absolute ban. Echoing the developing awareness of the value of antiquities and the informed foreign interest in them, and acknowledging the lack of Ottoman experts, in the aftermath of the 1874 law, a government initiative stipulated the foundation of a school in 1875, designated to educate specialists of antiquity.

29 An article by John P. Peters pushed the American ambition to broader agendas by proposing archaeological expeditions. In an uncanny 20 ◆ Ab out Ant iqui ti e s predecessor to Morgan’s desire to buy the Imperial Museum’s collections lock, stock, and barrel in 1912, Peters challenged “the patriotic American” to ask himself the following question in 1884: Why cannot we, like France and England, equip expeditions to explore those buried cities instead of contending ourselves with the purchase from dealers of antiquities which the Louvre or the British Museum did not chance to covet?

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