Atkinson, Thomas [Mitarb.]
Excavations at Phylakopi in Melos — London, 1904

Seite: 225
Zitierlink: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/atkinson1904/0245
Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen Nutzung / Bestellung
0.5
1 cm
facsimile
THE OBSIDIAN TRADE.

225

near the excavation from which thoy had been thrown, a sort of tunnel
driven into the mound from the sea-face. It was said to have been dug five-
and-twenty years before by a Melian well-known as the author of clandestine
excavations, who had found a quantity of obsidian and sold it in Athens. On
my return to Athens I was able to get confirmation of the story from one of
his family, who had started in business as an antiquity-dealer and still had
in his possession some bushels of cores and nahes.

The date mentioned, five-and-twenty years before 189G, corresponds with
that of the quest set on foot by George Finlay from 1869 onwards. Since
the thirties he had been an eager isolated student of the prehistoric
antiquities of Greece, and in his old age, after a visit to the Swiss lake-
dwellings which had deepened his euthusiasm, he endeavoured to awaken
general interest in these studies by a pamphlet entitled HapaTijp^aei'; eVt
t/";9 iv 'EXßeria Kai 'EWaSi irpoiaTopticr]^ äpx<iio\oyi'a<i. It was distributed
broadcast in the provinces, especially to schoolmasters, and was well
calculated to catch their attention, containing as it did an outline of recent
discoveries in Switzerland, hints of the possibility of similar discoveries in
Greece, and pictures of stone implements found in Greece by himself and his
friends with parallel columns of description in Greek and in English. The
idea was that the schoolmaster and his pupils should use their eyes and send
to Athens any objects of the kind which they could discover, and it was so
far successful that his collection, which up to the end of 1869 numbered only
80 pieces, increased during 1870 to 266, during 1871 to 382, and during 1872
to 645. Most of the new accessions reached him through an agent, now dead,
whom I shall call X ; I propose to show that—at any rate in regard to the
specimens of obsidian—this man's Statements as to the sources from which
he got them were more ingenious than accurate.

What makes the matter more serious is that he imposed on others, in
particular on Finlay's friend, the late Professor von Heldreich. Thus we must
doubt the alleged sources of specimens of obsidian said to come from
Mesolonghi, Laurion, Stamata and Pentelicus, Vari and Tanagra, which
were obtained for Virchow by von Heldreich and exhibited to the Berlin
Anthropological Society early in 1873.1 I had an opportunity of discussing
the whole matter with Professor von Heldreich about a year before his death ;
and certain particulars which he communicated to me completed the story
which I had already to some extent reconstructed from Finlay's papers.

Finlay's own register of his stone implements passed into the possession
of the British School in 1899 along with his Library and a part of his
collections, by the generous gift of Mr. W. H. Cooke, his nephew. It is a
record of these purchases, of the reported provenance of each object, and in
many cases of the price and the seller's name. Obsidian is rare among the
earlier entries, but becomes more and more prominent from December, 1871,

1 Verhandl. Berl. Ges. für Anthrop, 1873,
pp. 110-113, PI. XIV. The carefully labelled
collections presented by Finlay to certain

foreign musevuna lie equally ander the ban of
suspieion.

Q
loading ...