An interesting take on the early European excavators’ fascination with the Mediterranean and the East, which resulted in a true pillaging of archaeological sites in order to bring “treasures” home will be presented today through a lecture by Prof. Suzanne Marchant in Cambridge (Faculty of Classics).

As described in Prof. Marchant’s summary, in the course of the long nineteenth century, European excavators ransacked archaeological sites from Rome to Chinese Turkestan, hauling home treasures of untold number and value. Their doings, however, soon led to the rise of monument protection services and laws against the exportation of antiquities. The lecture will focus on the question to which extent today’s sessile form of archaeological practice and our non-aestheticizing, historicist attitude toward classical artefacts is the unintended consequence of earlier attempts to plunder them.

In the past, Prof. Marchant has explored attitudes of the past towards antiquities through her books Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970 (Princeton University Press, 2003) and German Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion, Race, and Scholarship (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

The lecture is part of the Classical Reception Discussion Group (Faculty of Classics, Cambridge, Room G.21). To attend or to gain info related to the speaker, please contact the organizers Martin Ruehl ([email protected]) or Helen Roche ([email protected]).