BMCR 2020.07.47

Die Abteilung Athen des DAI und die Aktivitäten deutscher Archäologen in Griechenland 1874-1933

Katja Sporn, Alexandra Kankeleit, Die Abteilung Athen des DAI und die Aktivitäten deutscher Archäologen in Griechenland 1874-1933. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Archäologie und der Altertumswissenschaften, 2. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2020. vi, 300 p.. ISBN 9783447113595 €49,00.

[The Table of contents is listed at the end of the review]

The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Athens will in 2024 celebrate one hundred and fifty years since it first opened its doors. Building towards this celebration, the DAI, in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, organised in December 2016 a two-day conference on the theme ‘Das DAI Athen und die Aktivitäten deutscher Archäologen in Griechenland von der Gründung des Instituts 1874 bis 1933’, the papers of which make up the present volume. The organisation and publication of this event was part of the DAI’s ‘Forschungs-cluster 5’, whose principal research focus at its inception in 2006 was the development of the DAI departments worldwide throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but since 2012 is more broadly ‘Geschichte der Archäologie’. In a similar vein, the strength of this collection is in the number of its papers that turn from annalist history both to discussing the impact of the DAI more broadly on the intellectual networks of Greece (particularly Athens) between 1874 and 1933, and to considering German contributions to archaeology as a discipline.

Articles draw on a considerable range of sources, including the archives of the DAI and the Benaki museum, diaries, legal texts, newspapers, and the archives of the Greek Ministry of Culture and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA). The period of study covers the foundation of the DAI through the temporary closure of the Institute between 1916 and 1921 until Hitler’s ‘Machtergreifung’ in 1933. The editors remark that 1933 serves a useful endpoint for this study: the period from 1933 until 1944 (and another temporary closure of the Institute, until 1951) requires further and more intensive archival study, as the rise of the German Reich had significant consequences for the DAI’s operations in Athens.

This is a trilingual volume, with articles written variously in German, Greek, and English; an abstract in all three languages follows at the end of each chapter. Papers are grouped according to four major research themes: ‘Das DAI Athen: Strategien, Innovationen und Umgang mit neuen Herausforderungen’; ‘Grabungen des DAI in Griechenland’; ‘Deutsche Archäologen in Griechenland: Ausgrabungen und sonstige Aktivitäten’; and ‘Das DAI Athen: Wechselwirkungen mit anderen Institutionen in Griechenland’. These important and useful themes are introduced by Katja Sporn and Alexandra Kankeleit on pp. 3–5 in their overview of the volume, but they appear explicitly nowhere else. By printing these theme titles either on the contents page or in the heading of each relevant paper, this collection might have been more explicitly sign-posted.

The first six papers deal with the ‘strategies, innovations, and challenges’ of the DAI Athens in its earliest years. In the first instance, this relates to its fieldwork: papers cover the timelines of activity and project directors in the DAI’s first ‘big dig’ excavations at the Kerameikos, Olympia, Tiryns, and the Heraion of Samos (Elena Korka), and the laws that enabled the first permits to be granted for campaigns such as these (Ira Kaliampetsos). This research theme also covers physical infrastructure. An overview is given of the Institute’s library (Karin Weiß) —the original bequests and the ‘Inventarbücher’ kept since the library’s first years— and of architectural plans for a planned but never-constructed New Institute Building on Rigillis Street (Nils Hellner).

The most intriguing and critically engaged papers in this section, however, come from Anne Fohgrub and Katja Sporn. Both authors turn their attention towards travel enabled by the Institute for some of its first members and scholars, exploring respectively the personal papers, diaries, and notebooks of Habbo Gerhard Lolling and Adolf Hermann Struck; and travel grant reports received up to 1926. Scholarly mobility, travel itineraries and research networks are fast becoming fashionable topics, and these authors demonstrate that the DAI has rich resources to contribute: Anne Fohgrub’s paper points one to the project ‘Athen-Digital: Das Nachlassarchiv’ (iDAI.bibliography), an initiative undertaken between August and November 2016 to digitise and make freely available over one hundred notebooks from Lolling and Struck (as well as those of Wilhelm Dörpfeld, whose travels as Director are discussed by Katja Sporn). While her paper can only offer a general introduction to the archive, Fohgrub, in summarising how and where her protagonists travelled, makes a good case for why these scholars’ archives are so important in the context of nineteenth/twentieth century travellers: Lolling went with Pausanias in hand ‘off-the-beaten-track’ across parts of the Peloponnese, Central Greece and Northern Greece that were usually passed over by other European travellers; and Struck, whose earliest travels concentrated around Macedonia, made many (unique) technical drawings en route. On the travel award reports, Sporn advances a convincing argument that individual scholarly mobility was essential in the difficult years following the First World War for enriching the research profile of the DAI. The most clear evidence of this is that a number of award recipients, following the completion of their scholarships, took up work for the DAI, either at Athens, at another of the international departments, or on one of the DAI’s excavations.

The next set of four papers has the common theme ‘Excavations of the DAI in Greece’. Both Konstantinos Nikolentzos and Eleni Pipelia focus on Olympia: these authors follow the paper trails by which permission were granted for the site, first for the excavation itself, and then for the rights to make casts of the finds —principally the sculptures from the Temple of Zeus. Stavroula Masouridi turns our attention to the Ionian islands, demonstrating through documents of the Historical Archive of Antiquities and Restoration of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture that there were important collaborations established right from these early days between the DAI and the Greek Archaeological Service, not only for the discovery but also for the conservation and protection of antiquities. Although the earlier papers in this volume establish that in addition to the ‘big dig’ at Olympia the excavations at the Kerameikos, Tiryns, and the Heraion of Samos were also fundamental to the research agenda of the DAI in its first years, there are no chapters in this section devoted specifically to these sites.

Once again, the strongest papers in this group look most explicitly at the activities of DAI Athens within Greek archaeology more broadly. In addition to the aforementioned paper of Masouridi on the Ionian islands, Athina Chatzidimitriou publishes archival material relating to excavations of the DAI in Attica, and in the first section of her article focuses on excavations directed by Wilhelm Dörpfeld around the Acropolis between 1892 and 1898. This article is paired very well with that of Masouridi, who follows Dörpfeld’s subsequent activities on Leukas (1901 onwards).  The authors bring two very important themes to light. First, the administrative process for permit application —something which has undergone a number of changes since the founding of DAI Athens in the late nineteenth century. Letters are reproduced concerning excavations both in Athens and on the Ionian Islands from Dörpfeld to General Ephor of Antiquities Panaghis Kavvadias, who would then make a recommendation on any proposed fieldwork to the relevant Ministry. Dörpfeld was required to define both the area and duration of his planned work. In the case of Athens, for an early letter dated 14/26 December 1893 he sought to investigate an area between the Areopagus and Pnyx, noting a certain philological interest to explore further a fountain previously identified based on a description of Pausanias. Second, these documents shed important light on late nineteenth century social history. Excavation personnel are often remembered only by their directors’ names, but Chatzidimitriou and Masouridi give careful attention also to the foremen and workmen discussed. Indeed, the source documents give us not only some of their names, but also details on their terms of employment and salaries.

The next set of three papers (‘German archaeologists in Greece: excavations and other activities’) are loosely connected to one another: they provide three interesting (but quite different) case studies for the wider archaeological involvements of DAI members in the Institute’s earliest days. Archontoula Papaoulakou examines the role played by Wilhelm Dörpfeld, Josef Durm and Ernst Ziller and others on the committees handling conservation and restoration of the Parthenon; Stavros Vlizos looks at the interest of DAI archaeologists in Lakonia, and in doing so situates the Institute in a wider political and ideological framework; and Giorgos Kavvadias looks at the object biography of ‘Spyros Louis’ Lost Cup’, at one time in the private collection of one Werner Peek, member of the DAI in the early 1930s as a scholarship holder for epigraphy and as a team member on the Kerameikos excavations. The latter two papers use quite different datasets to others in this volume: Vlizos notes that attempts to find archival material were unsuccessful, and he uses instead the relevant excavation publications from Lakonia; similarly, Kavvadias uses events to piece together a narrative, suggesting that Peek illegally exported an antiquities collection in 1934, which was then sold to the University of Münster in 1990—he also concedes that archival research has thus far revealed nothing concerning the fate of the skyphos in question, but that the DAI photo archive might hold some clues. These three papers expose not only these specific vignettes, but they also give between them a detailed overview of the DAI in its early years, demonstrating how its operations connected networks locally in Athens, more widely in other regions of Greece, and also abroad.

The fourth and final section of this book contains four papers on ‘The DAI in Athens: interactions with other institutions in Greece’. The focus is principally other institutions in Athens: Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan looks at the relationship of the DAI with the ASCSA, while Alexandra Kankeleit explores interactions with the German School of Athens. Sophia Fragkoulopoulou looks beyond the capital to the Archaeological Museum of Corfu (in whose layout and first exhibition Dörpfeld played a not insignificant role); and Maria Dimitriadou takes a look at German-Greek relations, as depicted through the Greek press.

All four papers are excellent, and they situate the DAI very clearly in the wider intellectual context of nineteenth and twentieth century archaeology. Vogeikoff-Brogan’s paper in particular is interesting for bringing to light the key social networks of the age: accounts of the Inselreise are enlightening for the way in which they involved not just the DAI and ASCSA communities, but also many of the other foreign institutes and diplomatic circles.

At this point, I considered again the ordering of papers in the volume. Chapters follow the original conference programme, but, as I have indicated, the reader might draw out some of the collection’s major themes more clearly if they choose to go non-sequentially through the book. Maria Dimitriadou’s paper is a good one to read alongside the other introductory chapters, offering a big picture perspective on why ‘η Ελλάδα υπήρξε ανέκαθεν πόλος έλξης για τους Γερμανούς’ (p. 269). Similarly, as discussed above, the papers of Katja Sporn, Anne Fohgrub and Athina Chatzidimitriou speak well to those of Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, Sophia Fragkoylopoulou and Alexandra Kankeleit, engaging with the wider impact of the DAI on the Athenian and research communities. An afterword or epilogue might have been added to tie these papers together even more closely. But, on the other hand, even working sequentially the reader is left in no state of confusion, as the themes of the volume have been ever-present and clear.

This is an attractive and well put-together volume, with detailed footnotes and bibliography accompanying each individual paper. There is extensive colour reproduction of archival images and documents throughout. Unfortunately, the quality of some of these images make the information more difficult to interpret: some scanned images do not lie flat on the page (p. 58); the resolution of a handful of images makes their text hard to read (pp. 95ff. and 291); and the contrast and text size on some architectural plans renders detail difficult to interpret (pp. 71 and 83). Furthermore, some images would have benefitted from being printed across a whole page, rather than as inserts within the text (p. 138ff.). On presentation of the text, there is pleasingly little repetition between papers on the general narrative of DAI Athens’ early years.

Overall, this is a significant volume which not only effectively celebrates the history of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens, but it also sheds new light on the important contribution of the Institute and its scholars to the history of Greek Archaeology.

Table of Contents

Einführung” Katja Sporn and Alexandra Kankeleit, 1
“The Early Years of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens” Elena Korka, 7
“Die Aktivitäten des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Athen bis 1933: Die rechtlichen Aspeke” Ira Kaliampetsos, 15
“Die Anfänge der Athener Institutsbibliothek – Bestandsaufbau bis 1900” Karin Weiß, 25
“Travel Notes in the Personal Papers Archive of the DAI Athens. Habbo Gerhard Lolling (1848–1894) and Adolf Hermann Struck (1877–1911)” Anne Fohgrub, 37
“Travel and Research: Journeys and Travel Grant Recipients at the DAI Athens” Katja Sporn, 49
“Die Vorentwürfe von Heinrich Johannes aus den Jahren 1931–1934 für einen Neubau des DAI Athen an der Rigillis-Straße” Nils Hellner, 67
“The Excavation of Ancient Olympia in the 19th Century: Notes from the Historical Archive of the Hellenic Archaeological Service” Konstantinos Nikolentzos, 91
«… τὸ ἀποκλειστικὸν δικαίωμα τοῦ λαμβάνειν ἐκμαγεῖα καὶ ἀποτυπώματα …» Πολιτικές και επιστημονικές όψεις του άρθρου 7 της ελληνογερμανικής σύμβασης περί των ανασκαφών στην Ολυμπία” Eleni Pipelia, 119
“Οι ανασκαφές του Γερμανικού Αρχαιολογικού Ινστιτούτου στην Αττική. Αναδίφηση στη διοικητική αλληλογραφία της εποχής (19ος–20ός αι.)” Athina Chatzidimitriou, 135
“Οι ανασκαφές του Γερμανικού Αρχαιολογικού Ινστιτούτου στα Ιόνια Νησιά. Ντοκουμέντα από το Ιστορικό Αρχείο Αρχαιοτήτων και Αναστηλώσεων” Stavroula Masouridi, 153
“«Ἡ ἐπὶ τῆς συντηρήσεως τοῦ Παρθενῶνος Ἐπιτροπή …» Η συμβολή των Γερμανών αρχιτεκτόνων στο αναστηλωτικό πρόγραμμα του Παρθενώνα (1894–1902)” Archodoula Papaoulakou, 179
Deutsche Archäologen und das frühe Interesse an Sparta: Furtwängler, Fiechter, Buschor,
ihre Vorgänger und die Ausgrabungen im AmyklaionStavros Vlizos, 205
“Το χαμένο κύπελλο του Σπύρου Λούη” Giorgos G. Kavvadias, 219
“Μνημεία, Μουσεία και Μνήμη. Η συμβολή του Γερμανικού Αρχαιολογικού Ινστιτούτου στη διαμόρφωση της μόνιμης έκθεσης του Mουσείου της Κέρκυρας στον Mεσοπόλεμο” Sofia Fragoulopoulou, 231
On the Trail of the «German Model»: the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the German ArchaeologicalInstitute (DAI), 1881−1918” Natalia VogeikoffBrogan, 253
“Το Γερμανικό Αρχαιολογικό Ινστιτούτο μέσα από τον ελληνικό Τύπο και τα γερμανικά αρχεία. Μια προσπάθεια χαρτογράφησης” Maria Dimitriadou, 269
 “The German Archaeological Institute at Athens and the German School of Athens, 1896–1932” Alexandra Kankeleit, 279