National Museum of Antiquities

This collection has 3 main parts. The first is represented by a large lot of glass-plates negatives and glass-plates slides. The negatives are a result of the activity of Institutes archaeologists, topographers and photographers. The slides were certainly aquired from various sources or made by commercial photographesrs at the request of the Institute. Some of the slides were used as teaching materials. The vast majority of this materials are dated in the first quarter of the 20th century and relate tot the archaeological reseraches of the Institute in the Romanian BLack Sea region. The second part of the collection is represented by a lot of albumen prints, all dated in the last quarter of the 19th century and most of the related to the archaeological researches of Grigore Tocilescu, former director of the Institute at Tropaeum Traiani - Adamclisi, located in the Romanian Black Sea region. All the albumen prints are made by commercial photographers, based in Romania, Austria and Russia. The third part of the collection is represented by a lot of gelatin silver prints and probably few salted prints, all being dated in the last quarter of the 19th century, some being possibly even older. The prints are related to the archaeological researches from various archaeological sites in the Romania Black Sea region, while a fair number of the document various civil and religious monuments form Southern Romania. The prints show a large number of monuments and sites, still standing or in ruins, form inside and outside, sometimes with details of inside decorations or paintings. In all, the collection represents an important source of imagery for the practice of archaeological excavations in Romania around 1875-1925. A fair number of images have a distinct ethnographic character, showing the members and way of life of some of the ethnic groups of Romanian Black Sea region.

All the photographic materials belong to the "Vasile Pârvan" Institute of Archaeology. This large body of imagery comes from the former National Museum of Antiquities. Most of the photographs were taken by the Institute's own photographers, but also by the archaeologists themselves. Commercial photographers were often commissioned by the Institute, especially in the inter-war period. Some of the images come from the exchange of photographic material with similar European institutions.

Most of the glass-plates negatives, if not all, were the result of the museums own photographers activity. Some of the negatives were processed in house, some by commercial studios. The slides were almost all aquired and with the negatives were a part of the photographic archive of the department of archaeology from the University of Bucharest, where the Museum was for a good number of years located. The albumen prints, dated all before 1900, come from commercial photographers, one from Constanța, one from Vienna. A small part of them were made by the Museums director assistant around 1890. The gelatin silver prints have an unclear origin, they might originate from the Comission of Historical Monuments. In any case, all of these materials were housed in the building of the Museum, starting with 1930. They remined there after 1947, being however moved from one room to another, and in the end dispersed in several ocations and neglected. A short initiative to put some order in the archive took place around 1970, but the archivist, a former political prisoner was soon fired after initiating the work. After 1989 they all returned to the main building, still in a state of neglect and decay. Around 2004 most of the photographic materials were finally brought in the new building of the Institute of Archaeology where I found them in 2014, in a terrible state of neglect and decay.