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Frank Calvert (1828–1908) was an Englishmarker expatriate who was a consular official in the eastern Mediterraneanmarker region and an amateur archaeologist. He began exploratory excavations on the mound at Hisarlik (the site of the ancient city of Troymarker), seven years before the arrival of Heinrich Schliemann.

Biography

Frank Calvert


Frank was the youngest of seven children born to James Calvert (1778-1852), of Maltamarker, and Louisa Ann Lander (1792-1867).

As the youngest child, Frank was overshadowed by his elder siblings and became involved with the careers of his elder, more flamboyant brothers. Frank remained unmarried; quiet and unassuming, he nevertheless had an enduring passion for the Homeric epics and a firm belief that the myths were history, not fiction.

As early as 1822, Hisarlik was identified by Charles Maclaren as a possible site of Homeric Troy. In 1847, Frank's brother Frederick bought a farm of over 2,000 acres (8 km²) at Akca Koy which included part of Mount Hisarlik. This was to be a momentous acquisition. By 1852, Frank was helping his brothers Frederick and James in their consular duties, writing 50% of the letters in French and English generated for his brothers, which they would sign as officers.

Frank continued to support his brothers' careers. In 1855, while Frederick was completely engrossed in affairs related to the Crimean War, Frank continued to produce the bulk of official consular correspondence. On occasion in 1856 and 1858, Frank stood in for Frederick as acting British consul. After standing in for his brother James, eventually Frank succeeded him as United Statesmarker consular agent in 1874, an unpaid position that he held for the rest of his life. Occasionally, he served on local mixed European and Turkishmarker tribunals, assuming from time to time the title of acting Britishmarker consul.

Apart from performing his consular duties, Frank carried on careful, exploratory excavations on the family-owned land which incorporated the mound of Hisarlik. He was convinced that this was the site of the ancient city of Troy. After the Crimean War he confided his views to Heinrich Schliemann. Calvert owned the eastern half of the Hisarlik mound, site of the ancient city, and the Ottoman government the western half. During his 1873-1890 excavations, Schliemann recovered artefacts from the mound of Hisarlik and was subsequently credited with the discovery of Troy.

Calvert died in 1908, outliving Schliemann, but never officially associated with the discovery of Troy. In an ironic twist of fate, descendants of the Calvert brothers are now pursuing claims to the treasure recovered from Hisarlik.

References

  1. Hisarlık -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia at www.britannica.com
  2. Susan Heuck Allen, "Calvert's Heirs Claim Schliemann Treasure" Archaeology 49.1, January/February 1996 (abstract)




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