Online-Vortrag Dr. Artemis Papatheodorou


18. Jänner 2022, 18:30 Uhr ONLINE


From bystander to guardian of antiquities:
the Ottoman legislation on ancient finds

From the Adriatic Sea to the mountainous borders with Iran and from the Black Sea to the scorched shores of the Red Sea, the Ottoman domains were home to myriad locations of archaeological importance. The multitude of prehistoric, ancient and medieval civilisations that had left their imprint on Ottoman lands was bound to attract the interest of Europeans. Ottoman subjects were not in themselves left uninterested. Visits, digs, illicit traffic, museums and many more activities attest to this.

As the 19th century was progressing with the number of manifestations of an interest in ancient finds rising, the Ottoman state decided to take it upon itself to regulate this area of human activity. This presentation discusses the legal responses of the Ottoman state to this rising interest and, more specifically, the laws on antiquities of 1869, 1874, 1884 and 1906. It traces their origins, such as the incidents or other factors that motivated the state to promulgate the laws. It aims to shed light on the topics these laws covered, such as definitions on antiquities, the ownership of finds, stipulations on the import and, significantly, export of antiquities, any protective measures, and the regulation of excavations. It also provides a comparison between Ottoman archaeological legislation and that of the Greek kingdom in an attempt to identify points of convergence and divergence. To what extent was Ottoman policy inspired by Greece’s treatment of antiquities? Finally, this presentation does not fail to investigate the reasons for replacing one law with another. In this, a discussion of how each law was implemented in the vast domains of the empire remains crucial.

In all, this presentation aims to provide a comprehensive picture as to the Ottoman legal approaches to antiquities that, together with the development of Ottoman museums, encapsulate Ottoman archaeological policy. In discussing the laws, we shall see how the Ottoman state evolved from being largely a bystander into a guardian of antiquities in its lands.

Zeit: Dienstag, 18. Januar 2022, 18:30 Uhr

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