While prospecting the collections of PENN Museum for possible objects of interest, a look at some old photographs and a rolled up painting suggested to Bob Ousterhout that there was more to them than met the eye. These were the unknown or unattributed photographs of John Henry Haynes, and the forgotten, unpublished work of Osman Hamdi Bey. We would like to thank Alessandro Pezzati of the Museum archives for his continued support in the process of preparing this catalogue and the exhibition, and Nancy Miller for assistance with materials from the University archives. These materials have generated an entire program of discovery, study and analysis, which, we hope, will be of interest to all students of archaeology and cultural history. The program has investigated the relationship of Osman Hamdi Bey, the pioneer of archaeology in the Ottoman Empire with the archaeologists based at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, a pioneering institution in archaeology worldwide.
The first part of our program was a seminar in museum practice at the History of Art Department that the Halpern–Rogath Fund allowed us to teach in fall 2009 for undergraduates and graduates. Seminar participants delved into aspects of cultural and intellectual life, and academic history and politics in late 19th century Istanbul and Philadelphia, and the role of Osman Hamdi Bey, and archaeology, in it. Students taking part in the seminar were Elvan Cobb, Victoria Fleck, Heather Hughes, Emily Neumeier, Sarah Peyronin, Jamie Sanecki, Abbey Stockstill, Theodore Van Loan and Christine Stewart Wells. Their research has illuminated the period of these pioneer efforts in archaeology, and has fleshed out many specific details of the photographs, the paintings and the objects excavated at Nippur. Holly Pittman, chair of the History of Art Department was instrumental in our receiving support for the seminar, and for the conservation and restoration of Osman Hamdi Bey’s painting, At the Mosque Door. Carole Abercauph has brought it back to its original glory.
The process of organizing funds, developing diplomatic initiatives, and launching actual expeditions into the Near East, then part of the Ottoman Empire, had been begun at the University of Pennsylvania through the Nippur expeditions. Bruce Kuklick’s earlier study Puritans in Babylon pioneered a contemporary assessment of American initiatives in the complex field of Near Eastern studies. His study allowed us to take the next step in this aspect of intellectual history. We thank Richard Zettler and Steve Tinney for sharing their expertise on the ancient Near East; they have also contributed overviews for the catalogue on the site itself and its tablet finds. Katherine Blanchard made all the Nippur finds available to us with efficiency and good humor. Nicholas Harris was able to summarize the fascinating case of incantation bowls found there for the catalogue. Materials for the seminar and exhibition drawn from the University Museum archives and collections were supplemented with those from other archives and collections. In particular, the remaining part of the Haynes materials was found by Jeff Spurr for the Aga Khan Archives at Harvard University, and has been made available for us, and for the readers of this catalogue, by Andraś Riedlemayer.
The second phase of the program was the conference “Recovering the Past” in spring 2010 at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, which probed the ways in which the Ottoman elite, and the American and European travelers and archaeologists saw and understood one another. The conference papers have now been set these encounters into a wider historical and cultural context of modernizers in the Middle East on one hand, and of other American activities on the other. The support of the Turkish Cultural Foundation, the Middle East Center, the Joukowsky Family Foundation, Donald Morrison, and the Center for Ancient Studies at Penn allowed us to bring scholars from near and far. The papers from the conference by Susan Heuck Allen, Bonna Westcoat, Heather Sharkey, Brian Johnson, Nancy Micklewright, Layla Diba, Ioli Vingopoulou, Nina Athanassoglu-Kallmyer, Doris Abouseif, Firoozheh Kashani-Sabet, Holly Edwards, Edhem Eldem, Zeynep Çelik, Emine Fetvacı, Gülru Çakmak now form the intellectual backbone of this exhibition catalogue.
The third phase is the first iteration of the exhibition in Philadelphia. Planning for the exhibition at the PENN Museum, open from September 26, 2010 to June, 2011, began with the help of Ann Brownlee and Maureen Goldschmidt. The exhibition design team of Matt Applebaum, Allison Francies, and Aaron Billheimer under the clear-eyed leadership of Kate Quinn created an elegant visual environment in which documents, photographs, paintings and objects shine. We thank Richard Hodges, Director, Brian Rose, Deputy Director and James Mathieu, Associate Director for accommodating the research needs of the seminar and the meeting space of the conference, and for lending support to all aspects of this complex project. Jane Hickman provided a spectacular venue for the preview article on the project, “Three Intersecting Lives,” in the journal Expedition.
By launching an online publication of the catalogue we aim to provide ready access to the results of our assessment of the exciting, complex and even fraught beginnings of archaeology to a world - wide audience. Brooke Sientinsons’ dynamic design for the website gives access to several different levels of information in a graceful and economical fashion. At the same time, the nature of the web has made it imperative to watermark all the illustrations to the catalogue essays and entries in order to respond to copyright requirements. The last phase of the project will provide a hard copy catalogue issued in Istanbul in 2011.
While final phase of this project of discovery and analysis will culminate in an exhibition in Istanbul in 2011-2012, we have already received much advice and aid from several individuals and institutions there. Special thanks are due to Edhem Eldem for his wide-ranging expertise and for advice on his family archives. Revza Ozil and Özalp Birol helped with specific questions. The Museum of Painting and Sculpture at Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, and the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, photographic studio and library provided the necessary reproductions and permissions. We look forward to further collaboration with them all in the second iteration of the exhibition at the Pera Museum.