Antiquities, nearly always used in the plural in this sense, is a term for objects from Antiquity, especially the civilizations of the Mediterranean: the Classical antiquity of Greece and Rome, Ancient Egypt and the other Ancient Near Eastern cultures. Artifacts from earlier periods such as the Mesolithic, and other civilizations from Asia and elsewhere may also be covered by the term. The phenomenon of giving a high value to ancient artifacts is found in other cultures, notably China, where Chinese ritual bronzes, three to two thousand years old, have been avidly collected and imitated for centuries, and the Pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica, where in particular the artifacts of the earliest Olmec civilization are found reburied in significant sites of later cultures up to the Spanish Conquest.
Famous quotes containing the word antiquities:
“Our own country furnishes antiquities as ancient and durable, and as useful, as any; rocks at least as well covered with lichens, and a soil which, if it is virgin, is but virgin mould, the very dust of nature. What if we cannot read Rome or Greece, Etruria or Carthage, or Egypt or Babylon, on these; are our cliffs bare?”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“We have long forgotten the ritual by which the house of our life was erected. But when it is under assault and enemy bombs are already taking their toll, what enervated, perverse antiquities do they not lay bare in the foundations.”
—Walter Benjamin (18921940)