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AIAS Workshop

16 June 2017

The purpose of this workshop is to investigate the conjoint development of, on the one hand, shared traits of the modern worldview, and on the other, common perceptions of historic sites and artifacts. It probes the shifting temporal and spatial dimensions of belonging at the individual and state levels in the late Ottoman Empire and some of its successor states, such as Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, by means of analyzing a range of interactions and discourses involving the discovery/recovery and transfer of ancient objects. These transactions, whether formal or not, usually involved foreign (archeologist, diplomat, traveler, soldier, etc.) and native (government officials, local helpers, treasure hunters, etc.) agents.

Travel memoirs alongside archival and antiquarian documents, as well as geographic and military texts are valuable sources for this kind of investigation. Other important information comes from studies concerning the history of European collections of antiquities as well as the biographies of European ambassadors who operated in the areas in question in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Stratford Canning, Charles Newton, Charles Champoiseau, Henry Layard, among others). Facts, anecdotes, and stories related to more or less well-known ancient artefacts and discoveries at that time, will offer paradigmatic examples on this topic.

Of central interest is the dynamics of transformation of pre-modern identifications and their incorporation into a novel, modern outlook, viewed through the prism of changing notions of sovereignty, legitimacy, and cultural worth.


Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Aarhus University, Buildings 1630-1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. See location on a map.

Invited speakers

  • Edhem Eldem, Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey 
  • Artemis Papatheodorou, St Antony's College University of Oxford, UK
  • Filiz Tütüncü Çağlar, University of Victoria, Canada 





The workshop is funded by: