Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta.
Special thanks to the head of department Dr Carmel Serracino.
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The transformation of antiquities and the making of historical monuments in early modern Malta
19/01/2022 @ 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Lecture by Mr Jonathan Borg, Head of Unit (Heritage Planning Consultations) at the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage.
Ancient objects transform gradually into historic monuments as they are systematically reused, appropriated, moved around and reworked in explicit attempts to create memory and preserve identity through the testimony of material culture. This paper is concerned with the ways this process of change manifested itself in the Maltese Islands between the late 16th century and the early 20th century. The Maltese Islands present an intriguing case study to observe this phenomenon in view of the islands’ particular geographical and cultural context. This metamorphosis of antiquities is investigated by adopting a wide chronological and an archaeological framework to map the trajectories of a number of ancient objects. The ‘afterlife’ biography of these objects is traced through primary and secondary sources – textual and visual – in order to understand how ancient objects got transformed and displayed in new contexts. These biographies are couched in an understanding of the local culture of antiquarianism and embedded within the wider European ‘discovery’ of historic monuments in order to contextualise this process of the archaeological imagination of ancient monuments and the reuse of antiquities.