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From Exploration to Exploitation

Giovanni Mariti, Domenico Sestini, Antonio Mondaini and the Early History of Cypriote Archaeology

Luca Bombardieri    Università di Siena, Italia    



The earliest history of Cypriot archaeology is a horizon still largely dominated by the interests of antiquarianism and the history of collecting, but it undoubtedly constitutes a fundamental chapter in understanding many of the phenomena and current connotations of archaeology in Cyprus through the twentieth century. In fact, the extractivist model of nineteenth and twentieth-century archaeology in Cyprus stimulates a paradigm, explicit in practice, involving foreign expeditions to the island. This stimulus is not unrelated to feeding the logic behind illegal and clandestine digging, which takes the form of a parallel channel of supply for private collecting on the island and beyond, in the vast supposedly post- or de-colonial Western universe. From this perspective, this book analyses a particular moment of transition that constitutes the genuine genesis of European interest in the Antiquity of Cyprus. A moment in which the evidence takes the tangible form of archaeological objects, losing the more ethereal form of scholarly references. We may investigate this gradual change through the practice of three Italian travellers/pseudoarchaeologists who stayed on the island at the end of the eighteenth century. Through their stories, we will try to observe the island’s antiquities as they emerged to their attention, what form they might take and what practices they might produce. Attention, forms, and practices that our travellers passed on to those who followed them in the following two centuries.

May 9, 2024
Feb. 8, 2024
Jan. 10, 2024
Number of pages
16x23 cm
Copyright: © 2024 Luca Bombardieri. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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