ARCHAEOLOGY – BRITISH MUSEUM EXCAVATIONS AT HALICARNASSUS
Lot 11
ARCHAEOLOGY – BRITISH MUSEUM EXCAVATIONS AT HALICARNASSUS
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ARCHAEOLOGY – BRITISH MUSEUM EXCAVATIONS AT HALICARNASSUS
Logbook kept by an engineer on board a steam vessel in the Levant, engaged in the excavations undertaken by Charles Thomas Newton at Halicarnassus on behalf of the British Museum, beginning on 4 April 1857: "Weather unsettled employed on shore in packing marbles, ready for coming off..." and kept until 18 July, with frequent (and sometimes droll) comments on the progress of excavations and shipping on board antiquities discovered: "Turkish ladies to see the digging chaffed us all the time with great laughter... Went on shore after breakfast and got figure into the boat sent it off... walked out into the country to look for an Altar... at the diggings went out into the country with 2 Tents to inspect an Altar Stone in a hole in the Middle of a corn field very fine one but am afraid it is too large to be got aboard will try... Got off a boat load of cases. And put big figures below. After hold nearly full. A few small things will go in it yet – Newton & Watts both superintending the operation in great excitement – went up with a party to try and get the stone in the hills very large & heavy. Got it on the cart – but not strength to get it down left it till tomorrow 50 more cases I think will complete us, as we have nearly finished the Mausoleum and only the passages to explore they however will take some time and I hope they will not keep me... Employed filling in site of Mausoleum having cleared it out with the exception of one corner NE... Employed packing & filling up excavations. Found the colossal female head of a statue this morning on the north side where we were tracing out a wall we had come across of Greek workmanship head very large Newton in raptures & so on...Went on shore Great luck at the diggings 2 statues discovered in better preservation than any yet found Newton in raptures... one of the statues found yesterday turns out to be the lower part of the one already obtained so completes it... Newton not able to get on shore... landed him at last at 3 PM – Went up to the diggins found they had got out another statue and discovered an enormous horse always happened when Newton is away... employed digging out horse &cc which proves to have been made in two pieces... very hot on shore employed clearing out horse and getting him ready for Bringing him down weight about 6 Tons or thereabouts. Not much beauty about it too colossal. Must have been placed at a great height... Turks employed dragging the horse down – got him across a good way... remains this evening of the other part of the horse being found hope so would rather have the whole than half... Sent party again as usual – to dig Turks employed digging out the other part of the horse, not nearly so heavy as the other parts. Will get it out tomorrow", nearly 40 pages, with engineering notes reversed at end (including a description of Brunel's Great Britain), minor damp-staining to end section, dust-staining and some wear, marbled boards, lower cover replaced, folio, off Halicarnassus, 4 April to 18 July 1857

Footnotes

  • 'FOUND THE COLOSSAL FEMALE HEAD OF A STATUE THIS MORNING ON THE NORTH SIDE WHERE WE WERE TRACING OUT A WALL WE HAD COME ACROSS OF GREEK WORKMANSHIP HEAD VERY LARGE NEWTON IN RAPTURES': a first-hand account of the excavations at Halicarnassus undertaken by Charles Thomas Newton, accompanied by the painter George Frederick Watts, for the British Museum in the spring of 1857; and of work supervised by the author in packing up their finds prior to shipment to England. Newton published his excavation as A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and Branchidae in 1862. The author of this vivid account appears to have been a senior member of the party of sappers who accompanied Newton under the command of Robert Murdoch Smith RE (who was actually responsible for first identifying the site of the mausoleum).
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