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Mar.7, 2012

Vol. 112, No. 8

Web Exclusives

Slide show - Images from Antioch

Field photos and artifacts from the 'dig of the century'

By Brett Tomlinson
Published in the March7, 2012, issue

Images courtesy of the Princeton University Art Museum and the Department of Art and Archaeology.

In March 1932, Princeton archaeologists began a dig in Antioch, Syria, that would turn up some 300 ancient Roman floor mosaics, some of which now reside in the Princeton University Art Museum and McCormick Hall.
(Courtesy Princeton University Art Museum. Roman, Mosaic: birds in rinceau, 526–540 A.D., Stone, h. 113.5 cm., w. 206.3 cm., d. 10.0 cm. [44 11/16 x 81 1/4 x 3 15/16 in.], Gift of the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch, y1965 227.)
In March 1932, Princeton archaeologists began a dig in Antioch, Syria, that would turn up some 300 ancient Roman floor mosaics, some of which now reside in the Princeton University Art Museum and McCormick Hall.
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6 Responses to Slide show - Images from Antioch

Will Reynolds '70 Says:

2012-02-27 09:33:37

Liked seeing more images than could be printed in PAW. User interface is good, although the "time outs" were a bit distracting / annoying (for the picture ribbon at the bottom and the picture navigation buttons). It would be great if the online version of PAW had a feature to look at all back issue Class Notes for a particular class - perhaps even all notes for a particular classmate!

John McKenna '57 Says:

2012-02-28 13:34:26

Thanks for the images! It would be good to have some words to go with them, especially about their significance for the history of Christianity.

David Farmer *65 *81 Says:

2012-02-29 09:25:26

Thank you for the splendid archival photos and the good contemporary pictures of the mosaics. My first real job was at the Worcester Museum ('67-'69), and I saw that great Hunt mosaic every day. Let us celebrate the challenges -- and success -- in the removal and conservation of the mosaics in Syria at that time. As we read of art destruction and looting in some Middle Eastern countries today, we can be grateful to Morey and his colleagues for their good work in the '30s. And for doing the digging and export legally!

Emin Gun Sirer '93 Says:

2012-03-01 10:45:31

#1. The very same issue of the PAW that covered these mosaics also has a story on how the curator of the Princeton University Art Museum is being investigated for allegedly dealing in illegally obtained antiquities by Italian authorities. The museum evidently returned various items to Italy. #2. The associated article makes it clear that the University did not treat these invaluable artifacts with care: Some were placed out and around Palmer Stadium, exposed to elements. Certainly, when I was an undergrad, it hurt to see them there. #3. The article claims that these items were legally obtained from Syria, but fails to note that Syria and Antioch were under French occupation at the time. The legitimacy of any such grant is highly questionable. #4. These mosaics belong under the Mediterranean sun, where they were created. Not in New Jersey.

Robin Martin '75 Says:

2012-03-06 16:04:41

When I was an undergraduate at Princeton, I often passed the mosaics and wondered about how they had ended up at Princeton. The photos in the website slideshow are magnificent. The most striking photo, however, was in the magazine, showing a crumbling mosaic that had been damaged by weather and neglect while in New Jersey. Princeton needs a better system to curate its many treasures! How can priceless mosaics be left outside? Another case is the fate of the exhibits that used to be in the Guyot Natural History Museum. When the museum was turned into offices, what happened to the Northwest Indian art, artifacts from the Swiss Lake dwellers, ancient fish fossils, the remains of the world's oldest bat? The administration must catalog all museum-quality items given to Princeton over the years, and curate them properly.

Sara Poor Says:

2012-03-16 14:58:28

How about posting a list with the info for each mosaic AND its location on campus so that those of us who are here can go and look at all of them in situ? It would be nice to have a brochure for this in the museum store for visitors who want to go on a walk around campus on a nice day...
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