- Also known as
primary name: Antoniou, Gregorios
- individual; archaeologist; Cypriot; Male
- Life dates
- Gregorios Antononiou (known as Gregoris, Gregori, Grigori or Gligori, the latter a dialect spelling - he is known by the latter two in the archival ources, and the word also means 'fast' in Greek) was a Cypriot from Larnaka who worked as a foreman for a succession of archaeological excavations on his native island (including for the Cyprus Exploration Fund (q.v.) and the BM) and later in Crete, Greece, Turkey and Syria (at Carchemish). In Cyprus, he also sold antiquities acquired on the market and through his own excavations. These are documented in the correspondence between the British Museum agents (GR archives, Excavations in Cyprus: Correspondence, Original Letters passim) but also in his own right (GR archives, Letters on Antiquities, 1890-1925).
Grigori appears to have worked orignally for the Cypriot forestry department. Ohnefalsch-Richter (q.v.) claims to have trained him to excavate during the 1880s (1893, 508-9) and he was later hired as a foreman by J.W. Williamson (q.v.) and Charles Christian (q.v.) in their commercial excavations at Marion in 1886 and then by the Cyprus Exploration Fund (q.v.) campaigns between 1887 and 1890. He worked for the British Museum throughout the 1890s (Kiely forthcoming) and was later employed on various British excavations in Crete (including at Knossos from the very beginning of Arthur Evans' excavation in 1900) (Evans 1943, 340; Lock 1990, 179; Hood and Hood 2000, 211-12 and fig. 132 (sketch portrait); also Cadogan 2000, 24).
David Hogarth held him in great regard and described him as a 'mentor' (1910, 11; also 1908, 7). Grigori combined his role as a roving archaeological supervisor for the British Musuem excavations with a private practice of acquiring and selling casually-discovered or looted antiquities. Hogarth (1889, vi) and Munro (q.v.) and Tubbs (q.v.) described his tomb-finding abilities as 'proverbial' (1890, 4) while Leonard Woolley, who employed him at Carchemish to train his foreman Hamoudi in 1911, described him as a 'poacher turned gamekeeper'
His precise dates are not well documented. He was born sometime around 1849/1850 as he was said to have been 60 years old in 1911 (see Lock 1990, 179) while Peter Megaw states that he met Grigori in Cyprus when the latter was in his 90s (Megaw 1988, 282) so he must have lived until the 1940s. In a letter of 1898, we read of his wife Polixeni and two children, Manolis and Irini.
- Cadogan, G. 2000: ‘The Pioneers: 1900-1914’, in Huxley 2000, 15-27.
Evans, J. 1943, Time and Chchance. The story of Arthur Evans and his forebears (London: Longmans, Green and Co.).
Hogarth, D. 1889, Devia Cypria. Notes of an archaeological journey in Cyprus (London: Henry Frowde).
Hogarth, D. 1908. Excavations at Ephesus. The Archaic Artemisia (London).
Hogarth, D. 1910. Accidents of an Antiquaries Life (London).
Hood R. and Hood S. 2000: ‘Artists and Craftsmen’, in Huxley 2000, 208–19.
Kiely, T. forthcoming, 'Poachers turned gamekeepers? The British Museum archaeological agents on Cyprus, 1893-1899). In, D. Pilides (ed.), Proceedings of the Enkomi workshop, Nicosia, December 3rd 2008.
Lock, P. 1990, 'D.G. Hogarth (1862–1927): ‘…A Specialist in the Science of Archaeology.’ ABSA, 175-200.
Megaw, P. 1988, ‘The British School at Athens and Cyprus’, RDAC 1988/2, 281–6.
Munro, J.A. and Tubbs, H.A. 1890, ‘Excavations in Cyprus, 1889. Polis tes Chrysochou, Limniti’, JHS 11, 1–99.
Ohnefalsch-Richter, M. 1893, Kypros, the Bible and Homer (London).
Winstone H. 1990: Woolley of Ur. The Life of Sir Leonard Woolley (London).
British Museum GR archives (Excavations in Cyprus: Correspondence; Original Letters; Letters on Antiquities).
Cyprus State Archives (correspondence relating to antiquities).