Egypt Exploration Fund   [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1894-1895

Seite: 27
DOI Artikel: 10.11588/diglit.10057.2
DOI Seite: 10.11588/diglit.10057#0039
Zitierlink: i
Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen
Alexandria, South op the Boulevard de Rosette. 27

Roman Alexandrians would seem to have rebuilt their houses and public
edifices after a complete clearance of the remains of their predeces-
sors, not, as in the mud-brick cities of Upper Egypt, breaking down
previous constructions to a general level, and rising with each successive
rebuilding some metres higher. It is thei'efore a Roman, not a Greek
city, which is to be excavated at Alexandria ; a city containing scattered
Greek objects of art, no doubt, but these the relics re-used of a former

Roman sites, it is generally agreed, must be submitted to a
severe comparative test, when considered as fields for excavation. The
exploration of each and all has, of course, like that of Silcheste.r or
Chester in England, a local interest for the present inhabitants of a
country whose history contains a Roman chapter; but when put into
general comparison with all the possible sites of the classic world, a
Roman site must be a Herculaneum, or at least an Ostia, to hold its
own against the Egyptian, the Assyrian, or the Greek. From two of
these three we have so much more to learn, for their civilizations are so
much less known ; from the last so much more to gain for the Treasury
of Art. If the expenditure of thousands of pounds in acquiring lands for
excavation purjioses, and of other thousands in removing six to nine
metres of earth from their surface, is to be recommended to subscribers,
who have no local interest in a particular " Roman " site to supplement
their general desire for the elucidation of the history of human progress,
such recommendation must be coupled with an assurance that something
like a Pompeii exists below.

That such is not the case at Alexandria I think my own researches,
added to previous experience, conclusively show. Walls stripped of their
facing and cleared away down to pavement level, and pavements hacked
through, prepare us for the damning fact—for fact it is^-that hardly any-
thing of really first-rate style has ever been found in Alexandria. Witness
the local Museum, witness the local private collections, containing much
that is interesting, much that is very good second-rate—next to nothing
that is first-rate. Whatever objects of art of the finest periods or styles
existed in Alexandria, it would seem, are either under water now (and how
useless it is to grope under water, except for a definite object, all exca-
vators know), or have been abstracted long ago. The exploration of
Alexandria is beset with too many restrictions, and promises too little
return for the huge outlay involved, to be recommended to foreign
societies. The chart of the ancient streets and walls must be made little
by little, line upon line, by those who reside on the spot; to these

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