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FAST Lecture | The Possible Repatriation of the Flavian Monument Fragments at the Kelsey Museum

Nic Terrenato
Thursday, February 8, 2024
5:30-7:00 PM
Newberry Hall, Room 124 Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Map
In the early 1900s, Francis Kelsey, on behalf of the University of Michigan, bought in Rome several marble fragments. Unusually for him, the purchase was not made with an established antiquarian or collector but with a construction worker that he had been introduced to by an employee of the hotel in which he was staying. The fragments were later identified as belonging to a monument built by the Flavians on the Quirinal. It was then realized that one of the Kelsey pieces joined with one in the Museo Nazionale Romano. The connection was studied in detail by Elaine Gazda and Rita Paris and resulted in exhibitions held in Rome and Ann Arbor. As the circumstances of the finding were clarified, it became apparent that all the pieces had been stolen from a construction site on the Quirinal.

As part of a broader review of the ethics of the Kelsey collections (which does not always overlap with their legality), the option of repatriation for the Flavian fragments started being internally discussed. The Kelsey spontaneously approached the Direzione Generale Musei at the Ministero della Cultura in Italy to explore the possibility of reuniting the fragments, perhaps as part of the new overhaul of the Museo Nazionale Romano that is scheduled to begin in 2024. The talk reports on the background and the current status of the process.

Nicola (Nic) Terrenato has served as the director of the Gabii Project since 2007 and co-director of the Sant’Omobono Project since 2008. His research interests include the archaeology and architecture of Republican Rome, early state formation, Roman imperialism, and archaeological survey.

This event will take place in Room 125 of the Kelsey Museum’s Newberry Hall. Light refreshments and food will be provided before the lecture, which will begin at 6 PM.

FAST (Field Archaeology Series on Thursday) lectures are free and open to the public. If you have any questions or concerns regarding accessing this event, please visit our accessibility page at or contact the education office by calling (734) 647-4167. We ask for advance notice as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Ancient Rome, Archaeology, Free
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Interdepartmental Program in Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Lectures