Archéologie chypriote. Symposium à l’Institut d’Archéologie de l’University College de Londres, 5 avril 2019 : “Cypriot Archaeology, Pre-Modern Material Culture, and Cultural Heritage in the UK”

Artemis Karnava, chercheuse à l’Académie des sciences de Berlin-Brandenburg, Inscriptiones Graecae, présentera le résultat de ses recherches effectuées à la BNU sur le fonds du philologue allemand Wilhelm Deecke (1831-1897) : « Wilhelm Deecke’s bequest at the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg : a glimpse into 19th cent. archaeological investigations in Cyprus ».

Wilhelm Deecke (1831-1897) was a philologist, active in Etruscan, Cypriot and Lycian epigraphy. He spent most of his working life in Strasbourg, where he got involved with the study of Cypriot inscriptions from the 1870s onwards. In collaboration with a young scholar, Justus Siegismund (1851-1876), they concluded (one of) the successful decipherments of the Cypriot syllabic script in 1874.

Deecke’s working archive is kept at the National and University Library of Strasbourg in France (BNU). It contains, among other material of interest to experts of Italic and Anatolian epigraphy, paper squeezes of Cypriot inscriptions and photographs of archaeological finds, mostly sent to him by Max Ohnefalsch-Richter. The material pertains to the latter’s excavations in Geri-Phoenikiais (1883, an excavation commissioned by the British Museum, which is also where the finds are kept), Agia Paraskevi in Nicosia (1884-1885) and Marion (1885-1886).

To my knowledge, the existence of this archive was not known to scholars of Cypriot archaeology or epigraphy, until I recently came across an online catalogue entry by the BNU. It is because libraries and other archival institutions have begun to upload online information about their ‘heritage collections’, that such precious (for our work) archival material can draw, after more than a century, the attention of scholars who can appreciate and make use of it.

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