The CVAR, together with the Australian High Commission in Cyprus, will be hosting a lecture by Robert S. Merrillees, titled "Where were the antiquities, confiscated from Alessandro Palma di Cesnola in 1878, stored in late 19th century Larnaca?" on Tuesday 27 September 2022 at 19:00.
Robert S. Merrillees is a former Australian diplomat and archaeologist.
Merrillees joined the Australian Public Service in the Department of External Affairs in 1964.
In the early 1970s, Merrillees, along with his wife and their two daughters, took part in the Columbia University Expedition to Phlamoudhi, Cyprus, led by Edith Porada. Reminiscing about the two seasons of excavations that the family took part in, Merrillees described the experience as "unforgettable", leaving them with "a sense of achievement, lasting friendships and a nostalgia for times past".
Merrillees first ambassadorial appointment was in 1983, in Tel Aviv where he was Australian Ambassador to Israel until 1987. In February 1990, Merrillees led a team to Cambodia to hold talks with Phnom Penh government officials in preparation for a peace agreement. The next month Merrillees travelled to Washington, New York, Canada and Paris to continue discussions on a Cambodian settlement.
In October 1991 Merrillees took up an appointment as Australian Ambassador to Sweden; and non-resident Ambassador to Finland. His appointment lasted until 1995, when he was appointed Australian Ambassador to Greece. Beginning his posting to Athens in January 1996, Merrillees was recalled early from the role, in 1998, and took early retirement.