Forum Lecture Munich with Edhem Eldem: The "prehistory" of Ottoman archaeology, 1840-1870

10.02.2015 (18:30 - 21:00)

The “prehistory” of Ottoman archaeology, 1840-1870

Abstract: Much has been done on the history of Ottoman archaeology from the 1880s on, a period characterized by a high degree of institutionalization under the “heroic” figure of Osman Hamdi Bey. On the other hand, European archaeological initiatives from the end of the eighteenth century on have been systematically documented and narrated, but with little concern for a local dimension. The challenge, then, is to navigate through the historiographical limbo of 1840-1870, when the first local efforts to establish an archaeological practice can be witnessed and documented. From the first tentative excavations to the establishment of the first state collection, and from hesitating steps in view of setting a legal framework to the promulgation of the first bylaw on antiquities, these three decades constitute a prehistory of Ottoman archaeology which is in dire need of being documented and studied.

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