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12. the Mechanics of Dismantling and transport

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Chapter Summary

Dismantling antiquities could be a problem, and transport over land was generally difficult. Transport by sea, on the other hand, was easy – always assuming the artworks could be satisfactorily shipped. For large weights, raising them was not a problem in Upper Egypt by the beginning of the 20th century; although removals were restricted to 20 tons because of road problems – and, luckily, most monuments were already broken in waggon-sized chunks. An ironic and painful colophon to any consideration of the transport of antiquities is the use of antiquities in the construction of the means of modern transport, namely roads and railways. One element of dismantling mechanics was distinctly political: for the French, just how to keep antiquities out of the hands of the British, and vice versa. Unfortunately, this sometimes led to the piecemeal removal of small elements that could more easily be negotiated than a large enterprise

Keywords:antiquities; British triumphalism; dismantling mechanics; French triumphalism; harbours; modern transport; monuments; railways; steamships

10.1163/9789004229273_014
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