Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The Fred Winter Collection
Friday, November 17, 2017
Battling for the Archaeological Heritage of Macedonia in WW I
War produces all manner of collateral damage in its wake. One area often overlooked when considering the consequences of armed conflict is the fate of cultural heritage in a war zone. The interventions of the German and Italian occupation forces during WW II in archaeological sites, museums and private collections in Greece are reasonably well-known. What is less well-recognized is what happened to the antiquities in the war theater in northern Greece during the First World War.
On Monday, November 20th Dr. Eleftheria Akrivopoulou (archaeologist/museologist at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki will delve into this murky topic in her lecture entitled «Άσπονδες συμμαχίες: οι Μακεδονικές αρχαιότητες κατά τον Α' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο».
Dr. Akrivopoulou will point out that the arrival of large numbers of the multinational troops of the Entente in Thessaloniki during the First World War resulted in a significant boost to the economic, commercial and artistic life of the city. A number of infrastructure projects changed its aspect as well.
Archaeological research should be included within this framework according to Akrivopoulou, as among the British and the French troops stationed in Macedonia there were some emblematic figures of European archaeology, who conducted site mappings, excavations and publications.
The Allies and the Greeks fought among themselves for these antiquities, and this was a struggle for supremacy on Greek soil. This culminated at the end of the war, when a large number of antiquities was transported to the Louvre and to the British Museum, where they have been housed ever since.
A series of unpublished documents from the Historical Archive of the Archaeological Service as well as from the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki shed light on hitherto unknown facts concerning Greek archaeology and its goals during this very chaotic period. They also help to link together the Greek national narrative with contemporary European archaeology.
The lecture is sponsored by the ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΦΙΛΩΝ ΤΟΥ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΟΥ ΑΡΧΕΙΟΥ ΤΗΣ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΛΟΓΙΚΗΣ ΥΠΗΡΕΣΙΑΣ as part of its 2017/2018 Lecture Program. It will be held in the Library of the Institute at 7:00 PM on Monday, the 20th. The public is welcome to attend and to learn more about yet one more episode in the 20th century of international squabbling over another country’s cultural heritage.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
The Fred Winter Collection
Friday, November 10, 2017
Conundrum: Can "Democracy" Co-exist with "Imperialism"?
The current state of the concept and the daily practice of democracy in the modern world is a subject of much debate, in some quarters at least. The contentious issues of imposing democracy in nation-building exercises, the appearance of “managed democracies”, and the role of the social media in informing and educating the body politic, among others, are front and center of current debates. Of course, the modern democracy is not, in fact, the same as the ancient Athenian democracy in its purest form. That is the direct rule of all (isonomia) of the people (demos) where each citizen has equal political and legal rights. We have representative democracies. As is well known, Athenians defined citizen as meaning males over 18 born of an Athenian father and mother. Athenian women, adolescents, free resident aliens and slaves had no political rights. The self-interest of the Athenian demos as determined by the assembly (ekklesia) did not grant these democratic rights to other contemporary polities, except the right of power to install sympathetic democratic regimes there.
On Wednesday, November 15th Professor Nanno Marinatos (Professor, Department of Classics and Mediterranean Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago) will give a lecture at our Institute entitled “Thucydides and Pericles: Democracy and Empire”. In this lecture Professor Marinatos will address the conundrum of the practice of imperialism within the context of democracy.
Pericles has been traditionally identified with Athenian democracy but has also received criticism about the imperialism of Athens from modern historians. The issue is indeed complex since democracy contradicts tyranny over others. The problem is solved if one analyses Thucydides' own opinion. He is shown to be a partisan of Pericles and presents him as a political pragmatist who had a deep understanding of human nature, on the one hand, and the benefits of justice, on the other.
The lecture will take place in the Library of the Institute at 7:30 pm. Where do you stand on this thorny contradiction? Come and see if Professor Marinatos can convince you of the validity of her thesis.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
The Fred Winter Collection
Friday, November 3, 2017
A recent development in Greek archaeology are regional archaeological conferences on recent fieldwork organized by the regional universities and ephorates. These occur from every year to every two or three years. Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly and Crete are the largest of such conferences.
This past Sunday, October 29th, in Thebes the Ephorate of Antiquities of Boiotia of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport organized its first such conference. As the conference title indicates, «Παλαιές ανασκαφές, Νέες Προοπτικές. Το έργο της Εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας και των Ξένων Αρχαιολογικών Σχολών στη Βοιωτία πριν τον Β΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο και η πρόσφατη επαναδραστηριοποίηση τους στην περιοχή» the focus was on presenting overviews of the older excavations conducted by the foreign archaeological schools/institutes and the Archaeological Society of Athens as well their recent ones. Dr. Alexandra Charami, the Director of the Ephorate and Dr. Kyriaki Kalliga, her assistant, planned this most interesting initiative. The Institute knows them both well as Charami is our synergatis at ancient Eleon and Kalliga is her representative to the project.
Our first permit for a fieldwork project (1980 – 1983) was given to John Fossey for the intensive survey and test excavation at ancient Khorsiai or modern Khostia in southwestern Boiotia. Duane Roller in 1985 conducted a topographical and architectural survey at ancient Tanagra in southeastern Boiotia. After a hiatus of over 20 years Canadian archaeologists returned to Boiotia with the creation of the Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project (or EBAP). Their first phase consisted of an intensive survey of a research zone to the east of Thebes between 2007 and 2010, with an emphasis on the presumed site of ancient Eleon. This was done as a synergasia with Dr. Vassilis Arvantinos. Since 2011 they have been excavating with Dr. Charami at ancient Eleon with significant results. Many people in the audience had not realized how involved Canadian philologists and archaeologists over the past 50 years have been in revealing ancient Boiotia. As always one sees colleagues and meets other archaeologists.
In attending the conference I was able to visit again the new Thebes Archaeological Museum. Its extensive and comprehensive collections ranging from the Paleolithic through early modern periods are displayed in an excellent fashion make it a must visit, by all means! It is also less than 90 minutes from central Athens by car! Afterwards one can explore on foot the excavated remains of the Mycenaean Palace of Kadmos scattered around the modern town of Thebes.
We look forward to the next Boiotian archaeological conference!