From the Romans to the Railways

The Fate of Antiquities in Asia Minor


This multi-disciplinary account of the fate of ancient monuments and technologies in Asia Minor studies the processes and their results with the help of archaeology, history, construction engineering, and travel documentation. To clarify changes, their causes and repercussions, it compares infrastructure engineering (transportation, water management, utilitarian architecture) in antiquity with developments over the past 200 years, using the accounts of European travellers and then of excavations. It analyses patterns of and reasons for the deterioration of material life, documenting the perceptions and understanding of Roman antiquities and engineering by populations living amidst ancient Roman art and architecture, roads, and aqueducts. These are complemented by travellers' accounts of the myriad aspects of the plundering of archaeological sites and antiquities.

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Michael Greenhalgh, M.A., Ph.D. (1967), from 1987 Sir William Dobell Foundation Professor of Art History at the Australian National University, now Visiting Fellow. Author of many books and papers on the survival and re-use of the antique around the Mediterranean, including Marble Past, Monumental Present (2009) and Constantinople to Córdoba (2012).
"Asia Minor seems to have been a target of acquisitive explorers, who ran off with as much loot as they could before efforts of reclamation took hold. Greenhalgh (art history, Australian National U) here offers a fascinating mix of archaeology, history, construction engineering, and travel documentation and produces an admirable record of what happened to antiquities in the region, and what is being done to reclaim them. Greenhalgh examines how technology affected the evolving landscape, what happened when travelers met technology, the decline and recycling of ancient monuments, the decline of the roads and the transport systems, the affects of waterworks, the state of houses in wood, the locals’ attitude toward antiques, and the western impact on antiquities (in films, classical inscriptions, and travelers like Lord Elgin). Greenhalgh also covers the effects, both good and bad, that tourism had on the region. This is a well-researched, impressive work."
- Reference & Research Book News, December 2013, p. 36.
Those interested in classical antiquities, their supporting technologies, and their post-antique history; in the literature of exploration and travel; and in the competitive stocking of European museums.
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