During the past few months there has been much talk in regard to the proposed excavation of the site of ancient Delphi for archaeological purposes. Harvard college as represnted through her undergraduates, had shown until a few days ago, little or no practical interest in the matter, and it is hardly possible that the great body of men here can have realized the magnitude and importance of the work.
As the matter now stands the excavation of Delphi by American students would immeasurably advance their interests in classical research, and would probably disclose untold treasures of art and sculpture. There have been several excavations similar to the projected one, and the results of them all have been extremely valuable and productive. America has, however-identified herself little with any of these movements, and for that reason every effort is being made by American students and others interested in the matter to seize upon the present opportunity which is offered. Moreover, at the present time the American school at Athens, in which Harvard has shown a hearty interest will be able to have the work under its close supervision and will be able to take charge of whatever of value may be unearthed.
The principal need now for a beginning of the work and a successful issue is for generous contributions. The Greek government has possession of the site of Delphi, and has all authority in regard to the matter. The French government has been making vigorous efforts to obtain permission of the Greek to make the proposed excavations, but in spite of her attempts, refusal of the site has been granted to Americans. There remains, therefore, only the financial side of the question to be considered. The Greek government stipulated of course that full indemnification be made to all inhabitants whom the excavators might disturb. As a matter of fact, the site of ancient Delphi on the southern slope of Mount Parnassus is at present entirely covered by the village of Castri. It will be necessary to buy this village out entire before beginning the work, and for this purpose $80,000 is needed by the first of June. The American Archaeological Institute has the matter of raising the necessary funds in charge, and this organization is being aided in its work largely by the colleges, by various societies of classical research, and by private individuals throughout the country.
It was for the purpose of finding out what stand Harvard would take in the matter of contributions that the Harvard Classical Club appointed a committee to bring the matter before the attention of the undergraduates. About twenty-five undergraduates were appointed to act as a general committee in regard to the affair. At a meeting a few nights ago Dr. Morgan and Dr. Tarbell of the classical department spoke briefly and gave the committee the facts of the case which are here set down for the consideration of the college at large. The members of the general committee were unanimously of the opinion that Harvard should be represented in so important a matter, and therefore decided that an opportunity be given to the university to help in the furtherance of this important project which other American colleges have shown a warm interest in. In devising plans for bringing the project more directly before the eyes of the students, the committee thought first of calling a mass meeting and having speakers to state the needs of the case. It was deemed advisable, however, instead of holding a mass meeting, to make this public appeal to the undergraduates and then to give each one personally an opportunity to contribute.
The, committee believing that the gifts should be as representative as possible of the real feeling of the students, have decided to solicit subscriptions for no amount exceeding one dollar. Larger amounts will be very gratefully received, however, and the committe hope that all who can do so will subscribe more. Those who feel no interest whatever in the project for the excavation of Delphi, or in the question whether or not Harvard shall be represented in the matter are not asked to give; for the originators of the movement are anxious that it should be purely spontaneous and not forced. There are without doubt objections to be made on the other side of the ouestion. Those interested in the matter throughout the country, however, trust to accomplish everything by time and work, and have full confidence that the final issue will be successful.
The accomplishment cannot fail to add much honor and glory to the zeal which American students are showing in the matter. Many of the leading colleges in the country have contributed generously through their undergraduates, and the committee hope that Harvard will not be outdone by the other institutions of learning either in the heartiness or generosity of her subscriptions.
Members of this committee and of the Classical club committee will canvass the college for subscriptions and any member of the committees will gladly receive the contributions of any man whom they may fail to approach.
(DR.) M. H. MORGAN, Com. for the Classical club.
(DR.) J. C. ROLFE, Com. for the Classical club.
F. W. NICOLSON, Com. for the Classical club.
H. W. HALEY, Com. for the Classical club.
R. D. BROWN, Com. for the Classical club.
NINETY.P. S. Abbott. T. W. Balch.
T. S. Bradlee. F. F. Causey.