Book Details

Author  Luigi Palma Di Cesnola
Publication Date   April 10, 2012
Pages  558



MANY American and English friends have repeatedly asked me to publish an account of my researches in the island of Cyprus, and I have acceded to their request, hut not without grave fears in consequence of my literary inexperience and imperfect knowledge of the English language.

To some extent, also, the publication of this narrative was imposed upon me .as a duty, by the fact that several distinguished scholars had expressed their fears as to whether my excavations had been conducted in a systematic manner, whether the ruins had been left in a suitable condition for future study and investigation, and whether such a journal of the discoveries had been kept as would, from its details of how and where all the most important monuments had been found, prove of interest to science.

From reasons of prudence I did not publish anything concerning my diggings so long as I was residing in the Turkish dominions, and I have had no occasion to regret the course I pursued. That the explorations I superintended in that island were carried out sys-

tematically, and all the most interesting facts concerning them properly recorded, I hope the following pages will prove. That they were perhaps not conducted in all their details according to the usual manner adopted and advocated by most archaeologists, I am unwilling to dispute, but there were many serious considerations which I was not at liberty to disregard. My firman from the Ottoman Government made it imperative that I should leave the excavated fields in the same state in which I found them, no matter though they had become my property by purchase. Even had this not been the case, I should have hesitated before spending the time and money necessary in clearing out every site where I dug in order to leave it in a condition suitable for future study, knowing that the natives would soon destroy those remains by carrying away the stones for building purposes, as they have clone with the ruins laid bare at Dali by Mr. Lang, according to the approved system.

Again, such a system of excavating would have been too expensive for my private means, and I had neither public funds at my disposal nor an organized staff of assistants, as those usually have who superintend explorations of this character and extent. I had to rely solely on my own personal and pecuniary resources, and had to husband them as much as my health and my means required. The result, however, would have been the same in any case, since the ruins of ancient edifices which I brought to lis/ht during mv ten vears'

excavations, consisted, in almost every instance, only of low foundations of stone walls, and these, when their shape and exact measurement were ascertained, had no further archaeological importance.

This disappearance of ancient monuments in Cyprus, renders the identification of its cities and temples extremely difficult, and unfortunately, also, the records of them which exist in ancient authors are so few and unconnected that they mislead as often as they assist. My greatest difficulty in this respect was with the cities of Throni, Leucolla, and Aphrodisium.

To enable the general reader to follow with some interest the description of my researches, I have given as an introduction a short account of the island of Cyprus from its pre-historic times, where everything appears to be confusion and darkness, to the present day.

Among the modern writers on Cyprus, I have consulted Lusignan, Dapper, Mariti, Jauna, Pococke, Danville, La Croix, and Maslatrie, but the one to whom I am most indebted is Engel, who with that ability and thoroughness in his researches which so pre-eminently distinguish in our age the German scholar, has collected in his work, " Kypros," all the best and most reliable information that could be had about the island in classical times. My ignorance of the German language deprived me of the great assistance I might have derived from the perusal of this excellent work while I resided

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