Richard Francis Burton
Relevant Non-Istrians


The Castellieri

The first report of Burton's studies of the castellieri of Istria were mentioned in the Every Saturday: A Journal of Choice Reading. Vol. IV, July to December 1873. Ticknor and Fields (Boston, 1873), Foreign Notes, p. 671:

"Professional travelers will everywhere find something that escapes attention, especially if they possess the activity of Captain Burton. For years there have been reports of a network of ruins on the cost of Istria and at Kherso Island, locally known as Castillieri. These were suppose to be Roman, but are now found to be built upon quasi "Cyclopean foundations," and to be full of pre-historic weapons, stone axes, etc., all polished. The late Professor Kandler, of Trieste, a great local authority, believes these remains to be Celtic. Mr. Tomaso Luciani of Albona, an ardent student of antiquities, exhibited fine specimens at the Congress of Bologna, and first proved them to be pre-historic. The fact is peculiarly interesting with reference to the speculation of Mr. Fertgusson. Captain Burton is at present investigating the remains and working up the pre-historic traditions of Istria, and we doubt not that the results in his hands will be profitable to science."

That same year, Burton submitted a lecture on the castellieri to the British Anthropological Society in London which they did not publish until two years later, in 1875. An announcement of this lecture was made on February 21, 1874 simultaneously in various periodicals under the heading "Long Anthropological Society" or "The Ruins at Istria, including The Academy, Volume 5, p. 209, The Architect, Vol. XI, January to June 1874, p. 108 and The Medical Times and Gazette, Volume 1, p. 215, all with the same text as follows:

"At a meeting of this society, held at 37 Arundel Street, Strand, on the 17th inst., Dr. R.S. Charnock, F.S.A., president, in the chair, the following paper was read: "On the Castellieri of Istria," by Capt. R.F. Burton, V.P.L.A.S. For years there have been reports of a network of ruins on the coast of Istria, and at Kherso, locally known as Castellieri. Some antiquaries supposed them to be Roman; but Capt. Burton has found that they are built on quasi-Cyclopean foundations, and are full of weapons and stone axes, all belonging to what has been termed the Neolithic age. The late Prof. Kandler considered these remains to be Celtic; but M. Tomaso Luciani, of Albona, first proved them to be prehistoric, a generalisation which is thoroughly corroborated by the facts discovered by Captain Burton. Drs. Carter Blake, Leitner, Messrs. Carmichael and Lewis, and the President, joined in the discussion of the paper."

The first of Burton's articles on the castellieri was followed by a translation to Italian (1877), and then he wrote a supplemental article (1878). Go to the Castellieri.

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