A Mine of Statues

Charles Seltman presents the discovery and patronage of Herculaneum as a classical drama.

Archaeology is the discovery, recording, study and interpretation of material evidence surviving from the past of mankind. It therefore partakes both of scholarship and of science and is the natural union of two “Arts” which never should have been imagined as separate or in opposition, since it were true to say that scholarship should be science and science, scholarship.

Yet archaeology was begotten of Greed and conceived in Pride of Possession; it was bom in a royal Court; sycophants were its nurses and hangers-on its servitors. But among the strange group of human beings who set all this on foot, and whose antics and intrigues can still provide some pleasing entertainment, there was one good man, one scholar-scientist— a Swiss engineer. Though he has been almost forgotten his memory should be for a blessing. Where others had hunted for antiquities like hogs digging for truffles, he measured, planned, recorded, kept a diary of the work in progress. For that reason this obscure man, Carl Weber, must be honoured as the first real archaeologist.

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