An Early History of Near Eastern Antiquarianism

Start: Jan 23, 2013 05:15 PM
End: Jan 23, 2013 06:15 PM

Location: Room 612, Institute of Archaeology

The gateway into the khan al-jumruk in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, where the English merchants lived and worked in the c. 17th century (Image courtesy of Simon Mills)

The Institute's History of Archaeology Research Network will hold a special lecture, sponsored by the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) at the Institute on 23 January.

Simon Mills (CRASSH - Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge) will give a lecture entitled 'An Early History of Near Eastern Antiquarianism 1620-1760' and all are welcome. A reception will follow the lecture.


The development of European trade in the Ottoman Empire from the late sixteenth century provided new opportunities for various fields of scholarly enquiry. As European merchants and diplomats established themselves in commercial centres from Istanbul to Cairo, so orientalists and antiquarians were able to expand the range of their interests.

This paper will explore the implications of this process for the early history of near-eastern antiquarianism. I shall examine some of the early European expeditions to Graeco-Roman sites in Syria and Palestine, discuss some of the problems they faced in interpreting these sites and in communicating their discoveries, and ask whether in these antiquarian investigations we might trace the beginnings of a form of archaeological enquiry.

Any enquiries about the event may be directed to Amara Thornton.