Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cypriot antiquities, von Post Collection, Medelhavsmuseet

This is another boring, for-the-record note, this time on pottery in a Swedish public museum (largely from a Swedish private collection, partly from a Greek Cypriot(?) antiquities dealer).

Elisabeth Piltz published the Von Post Collection of Cypriote Late Byzantine Glazed Pottery (and two other Late Byzantine pots in the Museum of Mediterranean Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet) in Stockholm, Sweden).

Piltz (1996: 6) observed that dating Cypriote medieval pottery is 'somewhat difficult', because so '[m]any' come from 'unsupervised excavations' (looting).

The Medelhavsmuseet got 2 pots from someone called Michael Andronikou in 1953 (though it is unclear whether he was a private collector or an antiquities dealer) (ibid.: 14).

The museum got the other 65 as a gift from then Swedish Ambassador to Cyprus, Erik von Post, in 1968. Ambassador von Post bought the 65 antiquities from an unidentified antiquary in Nicosia, Cyprus; and the Cyprus Museum registered and catalogued the antiquities, and licensed their export to Stockholm (ibid.).

So, of the 67 artefacts: Andronikou's 2 (2.99%) were probably looted before any the eruption of the Cyprus Conflict; but the unidentified antiquary's 65 (97.01%) were probably looted during the intracommunal and intercommunal violence between 1963 and 1974 (obviously, precisely, between 1963 and 1968).

Unfortunately, the artefacts lack find-spots, so it is impossible to work out which communities were (probably) involved in their looting; but together with all of the other evidence, the very lack of information will contribute to our understanding of the quantity of looting before, during and since the violence.


Piltz, E. 1996: The von Post Collection of Cypriote Late Byzantine glazed pottery. Jonsered: Paul Åströms Förlag.

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