Arnold C. Schultz - Palmyra

The ancient city of Palmyra in Syria was a merchant city that was established in the Bronze Age and gained a lot of wealth from trade. The city’s wealth enabled it to construct monumental buildings such as the Temple of Bel (Baal) and the Great Colonnade, of which the impressive features are still visible in the landscape today. Unfortunately, some of the remnants of buildings were damaged during the Syrian civil war, but luckily most of it still remains standing. Excavations at Palmyra started in 1902, led by Otto Puchstein. Theodor Wiechand, and associate of Puchstein, resumed excavations in 1917 during the First World War. In 1929 Henri Arnold Seyrig, who was the general director of antiquities for the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, started excavating at the site. During the Second World War excavations came to a stop, as the area became part of the conflict. On the first of July in 1941 the Battle of Palmyra took place during an allied invasion. Only after Syria’s independence in 1946, did archaeological excavations start up again slowly. An expedition organised by the Swiss UNESCO excavated the site from 1954 until 1956. Polish excavations, led by Kazimierz Michalowski, started in 1959. This was continued in 1980 by Michal Gawlikowski. The Syrian Directorate-General of Antiquities started excavating the site in 1958 in collaboration with the Polish. In 2011 excavations at the site ceased due to the Syrian Civil War.

In 1980, Palmyra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the pictures from the Schultz collection show features that were destroyed in the Syrian Civil War, such as the Arch of Septimus Severus, the interior of the Temple of Bel and the Tomb of the Three Brothers. The Schultz pictures of Palmyra have not been dated. The pictures in the collection that were dated were taken in the late sixties to the early seventies, which indicate the Palmyra pictures could possibly have been taken during that time period.

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