The Accidental Archaeologist: The Unfortunate Case of Antonio Filippello and the Coin Hoard of Castiglione (Catania, Sicily, 1818)
journal contributionposted on 10.12.2015, 14:12 by Antonino Crisà
This paper describes a set of records from the State Archive of Palermo, that detail the experiences of Antonio Filippello, who, in 1818, unintentionally discovered some ancient coins during building renovations on his property in the small town of Castiglione (near Catania) and was unfairly arrested by local authorities. The records help to precisely reconstruct the historical event and to clarify significant aspects of Sicilian archaeology during the early Bourbon period, with regard to the enforcement of laws on archaeological heritage protection, the ambiguous role of the local and state authorities, and their potential abuse of power when dealing with serendipitous discoverers of antiquities. Filippello’s experiences can be compared with other contemporary events, to better understand their similarities and differences, and significance.