How (Not) to Protect the Past? Heritage Protection Efforts and Power Struggles in Early Modern Greece
This paper revisits the early protection measures taken with regards to the safeguarding of antiquities in Greece in the 1820s and 1830s and the ensuing power struggles. The focus is on ‘control’ and ‘ownership’, two major issues that shaped the nineteenth-century cultural politics of the country. It is argued that the 1834 law, that emerged out of these debates, is best understood as a crypto-colonial contraption. It gave the allusion to people and state officials of cultural and territorial integrity and control, when actually it facilitated local and international actors to thrive – licitly and illicitly – in the antiquities trade in the long nineteenth century.