Public Art: Winged Nike Acroterium
Date: c 281–133 BC
Location: The Winged Nike Acroterium once adorned the Sanctuary of Asclepion, the healing center of Pergamum and for many years remained outside, at its original location. The Nike statue now resides at the Bergama Archaeology Museum in Turkey. Many of the artifacts from the ruins of the ancient city were removed and taken to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Background to Pergamon Excavation: In 1864 Carl Humann, who was a German road engineer, began preparation for his role as the supervisor of road construction in what is now modern Turkey by visiting the ancient city of Pergamon. He was horrified to discover that some of the partly unearthed marble ruins were being destroyed. He sought official support from Berlin before, in 1878, he managed to obtain an excavation permit from the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to dig on the hill in Bergama. More astounding was the fact he had also secured the rights for all the artifacts unearthed to become the property of the German archaeologists. Subsequently, many of the priceless treasures discovered were shipped to Berlin where a museum was specifically built to house them.
What Humann unearthed in his first dig was astounding. The ancient Altar of Zeus was the first of many important Hellenic discoveries to be found at the site.
Today Turkey is currently trying to reclaim its lost antiquities from Berlin.