Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Phylactou Collection, Cypriot antiquities; British colonial failure

Last year, Vassos Karageorghis published the Cypriote Antiquities in the Phylactou Collection. None of them had any information, so all of them were probably looted (before the Cyprus Conflict).

However, the catalogue did have some information relevant to this research; and the existence of the collection implies a failure in British colonial administration.

Legal antiquities collecting

The Phylactou Collection was formed while the British colonial administration still made private collecting easy, between 1935 and 1944 (when the collector died).

As I detailed in my previous blog post on Cypriot antiquities law on looted antiquities and private collections, from 1935 onwards, legally-collected Cypriot antiquities would have government receipts and licences, which would record artefacts' find-spots and acquisition dates.

Even old collections of illicit antiquities would have government licences from the illicit antiquities amnesties of 1905 or 1935. So, more recent antiquities/collections, without find-spots or acquisition dates, or government licences, were very probably looted.

Furthermore (supposedly), according to Article 14, Paragraph 2 of the 1935 Antiquities Law, anyone who dealt or bought antiquities that they knew (or had reasonable suspicion) had been illegally excavated, would lose those antiquities, and could be fined and/or imprisoned.

The history of the Phylactou Collection

Phylactou explained that his grandfather had learned his love of antiquities from foreign antiquarians. As I have said before, these antiquities collectors had good intentions. I do not examine their collections because I want to criticise them, but because I want to help them, their community and their country to protect their cultural heritage.

Only grandson Chris Phylactou (or Christos Phylactou) published his part of the original Phylactou Collection in this book. His schoolfriend, archaeologist Vassos Karageorghis, wrote it.

Phylactou's share was the smallest of three shares of his grandfather's 'considerable' collection; and 'part' of his share was 'lost' in occupied Bellapais, a '"casualty" of the 1974 Turkish invasion' (Phylactou, 2010: 13).(1)

Karageorghis (2010: 105) also noted that the publication contained 'few [14]' of the 'many glass vessels' in the Phylactou Collection, though it was 'not certain that they were found in Cyprus'.

So, even this smallest share of the original Phylactou collection must have been significantly larger than the 150 catalogued artefacts. To understand the impact this collection must have made upon the archaeological record, it is helpful to guesstimate a reasonable minimum size.

Since 150 artefacts were published from the smallest of three shares, the original, complete Phylactou Collection must have been at least more than 450 antiquities.

Remembering the losses in Bellapais and the exclusion of '[un]interesting' glassware from this share (Karageorghis, 2010: 121), and the larger size of the other two shares (Phylactou, 2010: 13), the original, complete Phylactou Collection may realistically have had 750 antiquities (shared out into 200, 250 and 300), or even 1,000 or more (e.g. 225, 350 and 425).

The sources of the Phylactou Collection

The Phylactou Collection would have had at least two sets of receipts for each chance find, and receipts and a scholarly publication for each excavated artefact; and all artefacts would have had find-spots and acquisition dates. Yet none of the antiquities in the published part of the Phylactou Collection has any information.

Indeed, more than a third of the published artefacts (#1-#62) 'must have been found in tombs' (Karageorghis, 2010: 19), so they cannot have been chance finds; and they cannot have been excavated artefacts, because 'there is no information about their exact provenance' (ibid.).

However, nothing was done about it. That is evidence of a historic failure in British colonial administration.

Footnotes
  1. Working overseas, grandson Chris Phylactou (2010: 13) also collected a 'few' Cypriot antiquities from 'open markets abroad'; but they were not counted or published as part of his grandfather's collection.
Bibliography

Karageorghis, V. 2010: Cypriote antiquities in the Phylactou Collection. Nicosia: the A. G. Leventis Foundation and the Leventis Municipal Museum, Nicosia.

Phylactou, C. 2010: "Prologue". In Karageorghis, V, (Au.). Cypriote antiquities in the Phylactou Collection, 13. Nicosia: the A. G. Leventis Foundation and the Leventis Municipal Museum, Nicosia.

Data

1: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 20)
2: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 21)
3: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 22)
4: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 22)
5: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 23)
6: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 23)
7: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 24)
8: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 25)
9: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 25)
10: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 26)
11: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 27)
12: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 27)
13: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 28)
14: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 30)
15: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 31)
16: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 32)
17: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 32)
18: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 32)
19: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 33)
20: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 33)
21: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 33)
22: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 34)
23: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 34)
24: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 35)
25: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 36)
26: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 36)
27: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 37)
28: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 38)
29: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 39)
30: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 39)
31: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 39)
32: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 40)
33: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 42)
34: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 42)
35: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 43)
36: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 44)
37: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 45)
38: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 46)
39: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 46)
40: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 47)
41: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 48)
42: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 50)
43: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 51)
44: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 51)
45: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 52)
46: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 53)
47: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 54)
48: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 55)
49: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 56)
50: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 57)
51: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 58)
52: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 59)
53: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 60)
54: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 61)
55: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 63)
56: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 64)
57: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 64)
58: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 65)
59: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 66)
60: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 68)
61: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 68)
62: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 69)
63: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 72)
64: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 72)
65: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 72)
66: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 73)
67: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 73)
68: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 74)
69: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 74)
70: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 74)
71: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 75)
72: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 76)
73: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 77)
74: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 78)
75: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 78)
76: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 78)
77: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 79)
78: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 80)
79: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 80)
80: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 80)
81: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 81)
82: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 82)
83: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 84)
84: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 85)
85: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 85)
86: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 85)
87: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 85)
88: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 86)
89: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 87)
90: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 87)
91: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 88)
92: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 88)
93: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 88)
94: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 88)
95: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 89)
96: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 90)
97: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 91)
98: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 91)
99: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 92)
100: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 94)
101: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 94)
102: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 94)
103: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 94)
104: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 95)
105: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 96)
106: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 97)
107: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 98)
108: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 100)
109: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 101)
110: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 102)
111: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 106)
112: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 106)
113: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 107)
114: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 108)
115: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 109)
116: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 109)
117: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 109)
118: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 110)
119: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 110)
120: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 112)
121: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 112)
122: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 112)
123: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 113)
124: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 113)
125: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 113)
126: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 113)
127: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 114)
128: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 115)
129: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 115)
130: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 116)
131: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 118)
132: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 118)
133: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 118)
134: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 119)
135: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 119)
136: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 120)
137: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 122)
138: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 122)
139: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 122)
140: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 122)
141: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 123)
142: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 123)
143: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 123)
144: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 124)
145: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 124)
146: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 124)
147: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 124)
148: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 125)
149: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 125)
150: no info, n.d. (Karageorghis, 2010: 125)

2 comments:

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