ABSTRACT

Whereas it has often been argued that conflict and Western imperial ambitions and ensuing Ottoman defensive policies guided the direction of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century archaeology in Anatolia and the Middle East, here we offer a perspective of high-profile American-Ottoman mutual partage diplomacy. This view stems from the relationship between Princeton University and the Imperial Museum in Constantinople. From a multiscalar approach that includes microlocal and macroimperial histories, we demonstrate how this American alliance trumped Ottoman citizenship and transcended physical and political jurisdictions. “Princeton’s Gift to Turkey”—the excavation, transfer, and installment of the Orpheus mosaic from the northwest corner of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem to the Imperial Museum—triggered a lasting relationship between Osman Hamdi Bey and Howard Crosby Butler. Underwritten by financial means and technological capacity, this alliance foreshadowed the transformative period at Late Ottoman Sardis.

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