Davis, Nathan (DNB00)
DAVIS, NATHAN (1812–1882), traveller and excavator, was born in 1812. He spent many years of his life in Northern Africa, and published his experiences in: 1. ‘Tunis, or Selections from a Journal during a Residence in that Regency,’ Malta, 1841, 8vo. 2. ‘A Voice from North Africa, or a Narrative illustrative of the … Manners of the Inhabitants of that Part of the World,’ Edinburgh [1844?], 8vo; another ed. 16mo, dated 1844, Edinburgh. 3. ‘Evenings in my Tent, or Wanderings in Balad, Ejjareed, illustrating the … Conditions of various Arab Tribes of the African Sahara,’ 2 vols., London, 1854, 8vo. 4. ‘Ruined Cities within Numidian and Carthaginian Territories,’ London, 1862, 8vo. For many years he lived in an old Moorish palace, ten miles from Tunis, where he extended his hospitality to various travellers. In 1852 he edited the ‘Hebrew Christian Magazine,’ and afterwards became a nonconformist minister. From 1856 to 1858 he was engaged on behalf of the British Museum in excavations at Carthage and Utica. At the end of 1858 fifty-one cases of antiquities sent home by him were received at the museum. Other cases arrived in 1857 and 1860. The chief antiquities discovered were Roman mosaic pavements (now in the British Museum; see B. M. Guide to the Græco-Roman Sculptures, pt. ii.) and Phœnician inscriptions (see the Inscriptions in the Phœnician Character discovered … by Nathan Davis, published by the trustees of the British Museum, London, 1863, fol.) Davis describes his explorations in ‘Carthage and her Remains,’ London, 1861, 8vo. He also published ‘Israel's true Emancipator’ (two letters to Dr. Adler), London, 1852, 8vo, and (in conjunction with Benjamin Davidson) ‘Arabic Reading Lessons,’ London , 8vo. Shortly before his death Davis revisited Tunis, but the journey tried his strength, and he died at Florence on 6 Jan. 1882 of congestion of the lungs.
[Brit. Mus. Cat.; Martin's Handbook of Contemporary Biog. 1870; Times, 14 Jan. 1882, p. 6, col. 5; Athenæum, 1882 (i.) 65; Men of the Time, 9th ed.; Meyer's Conversations-Lexikon, v.; (Parliamentary) Accounts, Estimates, &c., of the Brit. Mus., 16 May 1860, pp. 13, 14, and 6 May 1861, p. 14; Edwards's Lives of the Founders of the Brit. Mus. pp. 666–8.]