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

By Zeynep Çelik

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

About Antiquities bargains an interdisciplinary examine of the connection among archaeology and empire-building round the flip of the 20 th century. beginning at Istanbul and targeting antiquities from the Ottoman territories, Zeynep Çelik examines the preferred discourse surrounding claims to the earlier in London, Paris, Berlin, and big apple. She compares and contrasts the reviews of 2 museums—Istanbul’s Imperial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—that aspired to emulate eu collections and achieve the status and gear of possessing the cloth fragments of historic heritage. Going past associations, Çelik additionally unravels the complex interactions between individuals—Westerners, Ottoman selection 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, really 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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17 The Imperial Museum was not an unknown entity in late-­nineteenthto early-­twentieth-­century New York, and the excitement over the possibility of its wholesale acquisition makes sense. Aside from discussions of its collections in the scholarly press (see chapter 2), as American archaeologists increasingly engaged in scientific work in the Ottoman Empire, the Imperial Museum and the antiquities laws became diplomatic concerns, even common news pieces. Responding to an inquiry with respect to the archaeological explorations in western and southern Anatolia and Crete, Oscar Solomon Straus of the Legation of the United States in Constantinople had defined the difference between American researchers and their European counterparts.

65 The beginnings of a museum complex may have been based on convenience and availability of unused historic structures on imperial land; indeed, convenience and availability became the determining factors in the final location of one of the most important modern Ottoman institutions. The new museum buildings were situated in relationship to the historic buildings where antiquities were exhibited, especially to the Çinili Köşk, and carved more land from the outer gardens of the Topkapı Palace. Under 34 ◆ Ab out Ant iqui ti e s the persuasive and persistent leadership of Osman Hamdi, the museum administration dealt directly with the sultan, who would issue the needed edicts, thus eliminating the thorny problems of appropriating private property and demolition.

Within a year, the entrepreneurial mayor of Istanbul, Cemil Pasha (Dr. 74 Located to the south of the Golden Horn, in the historic peninsula, the park targeted a population different from that attracted by Taksim and Tepebaşı Parks in Pera, the first public parks in the city, dating from the 1860s. ”75 The new park was indeed part of the larger urban planning activities undertaken by the mayor, which included the widening of streets, improvements of infrastructure, and demolishing the built fabric between the Hagia Sophia Square and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque to create another public park there.

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