Report on the Phoenician and Roman Antiquities in the Group of the Islands of Malta.
CARUANA A. A. (1882.)
£2000.00 [First Edition]
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First Edition. 38 original mounted photographs, all of which are albumen prints (by G. L. Formosa). Small folio (21 x 32.5cm). Very good light green cloth, corners slightly bumped, gilt title to spine. viii, 168 pp. Malta, Govt. Printing Office,
Antonio Annetto Caruana served as Librarian and Keeper of Antiquities at the Malta Library. Inspired by his predecessor, Cesare Vassallo (who discovered hypogea at Mistra and produced a book on the ancient monuments of Malta), Caruana set about his own investigations and publishing projects.
He made his first excavations of catacombs in 1860 with Capt. Strickland and, from 1871, was active for the next thirty years in exploring tombs and catacombs, which were myriad, although not always easy to get to (his descent into the Tal-Mintra hypogea at Mqabba was made in a cattle-pen). He also worked on the cleaning and surveying of St. Paul's Catacombs in 1894.
This report is the most extensive of his earlier writings and provides a copious survey of Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian and Roman antiquities at Malta and Gozo. While some of the archaeological work now comes across as dated and unsystematic, the visual record provided is undiminished. The photographs are beautiful and varied: showing artists' re-creations of ancient sites, numismatic drawings and various archaeological finds. A number stand out, such as the image of the seven Kabiri, a series of Phoenician sculptures of hyperbolic female figures that include Axieros and Axiokersa (Ceres and Proserpine) among their number. On their headless forms, Caruana notes that 'the heads were [probably] of some more fragile or precious material than stone'.
Stock Code: 220115