By Zeynep Çelik

Antiquities were pawns in empire-building and worldwide rivalries; strength struggles; assertions of nationwide and cultural identities; and cross-cultural exchanges, cooperation, abuses, and misunderstandings—all with the underlying portion 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 targeting antiquities from the Ottoman territories, Zeynep Çelik examines the preferred discourse surrounding claims to the earlier in London, Paris, Berlin, and long island. 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 tool of possessing the cloth fragments of historic 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, fairly these of the excavation workers whose voices have by no means been heard, About Antiquities offers very important old context for present controversies surrounding nation-building and the possession of the past.

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A survey of the Imperial Museum’s construction history, published in 1927 (four years after the declaration of the Turkish Republic), reminded readers along the way that the institution had reached its respectable status among the greatest museums of the world during a period of “tyranny” (zulum) and “despotism” (istibdat), the last decades of the now defunct Ottoman Empire. It described the buildings and the setting with pride that overrode their original political setting. The 64-­meter-­long new structure across from the Çinili Köşk owed its existence to the discovery of the Sidon sarcophagi in 1887, which could not fit into the historic building.

6 The Berlin Museums, site plan showing the Museum Island and the urban context. The main museums in Berlin occupy an “island” zoned exclusively as a cultural enclave. They contribute to the overall image of the city as an ensemble, with open public spaces between them. (Baedeker, Berlin and Its Environs, 1908) by Stüler, this time in the shape of a “Corinthean temple,” the National Gallery (1866–7186) to the east of the New Museum was home to the work of nineteenth- and early-­twentieth-­century German artists.

68 As spacious as the museum was, the acquisition of the impressive “friezes” found during an excavation in the Manisa region necessitated a significant extension, which added 32 meters to the north of the earlier building before turning to the west to create a wing of 64 meters. 9). The decision to build the next extension was secured while “the painting on the walls [of the second one] was still wet”—thanks to Osman Hamdi’s amazing political move of dealing directly with the sultan. The resulting 1908 addition consisted of an 81-­meter-­long appendix to the south of the original one, culminated by a 49-­meter-­long wing toward the west.

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