Sakçagöze Excavations: Mond’s Aerial Railway

During the 1911 excavation at Sakçagöze in Turkey, John Garstang employed a contraption described as ‘Mond’s Aerial Railway’, named after Robert Mond, one of the funders of the excavation.

John Garstang standing next to 'Mond's aerial railway', 1911. RefNo: SG-138: 'Sakje Geuzi No. 106'

At this date most of the expeditions carried out by the Liverpool Institute of Archaeology were funded by a number of external sponsors, many of whom sat upon the Institute’s Committees. The 1911 Sakçagöze excavation was funded by the newly formed Hittite Excavation Committee, which featured many prominent men of the day, including the chemical industrialist John Brunner, Assyriologist Archibald Sayce, and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Henry S Wellcome, (founder of the Wellcome Trust).

'Mond's Aerial Railway', 1911. Refno: SG-135: 'Sakje Geuzi No. 103'

Robert Ludwig Mond, (1867-1938), chemist and archaeologist, was the treasurer of the Hittite Excavation Committee. As well as donating funds for the 1911 excavation, he also provided advice and assistance in the progress of work and in the details of equipment to be used. He suggested that Garstang should employ an aerial railway, an automated system of ropes and pulleys to move equipment, artefacts and soil around the site, during the excavation. The machine was designed and made for Garstang at cost by R White and Sons of Widnes.

Source: John Garstang (1913) ‘Second Interim Report on the Excavations at Sakje-Geuzi in north Syria, 1911’ Liverpool Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology, Vol. V, pp63-72.

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One Response to Sakçagöze Excavations: Mond’s Aerial Railway

  1. Michael Quigley says:

    What insightful photographs! Its so interesting to see how archaeology was carried out a century ago. Will photos like these be in the exhibition?

    I am really looking forward to seeing the exhibition as I have been hooked on Hittite archaeology ever since I strayed from the Egyptian galleries at the Met in NYC and stumbled across Hittite gold and silver work. I have their silver 14th century stag as my screensaver!

    In particular I’m looking forward to seeing the neo-Hittite stele from Carchemish and what treasures have been hiding in Garstang’s store boxes! It’s about time there was Hittite archaeology on show in the UK – THANKS!