More than 10,600 artifacts dating from Neolithic times that were removed illegally by Nazi archaeologists during World War II have been returned to Greece from the German Pfahlbaumuseum, the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) reported on Tuesday.
The items were officially handed back to Greece during a low-key ceremony attended by Greek and German officials in Athens, including Culture Minister Constantinos Tasoulas, German Ambassador to Athens Wolfgang Dold and Pfahlbaumuseum Director Gunter Schoebel.
The return of the artifacts, most of which were excavated in the Thessaly region in 1941 during an operation organized by Hitler’s chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg, arose from a doctoral thesis by Angelica Douzougli, an honorary ephor of antiquities. She located the artifacts in the 1970s over the course of research conducted in Germany and has since spearheaded the campaign for their repatriation. Read more.
Wild, windswept, rocky and remote, Astypalaia is not an obvious place for the unearthing of some of the world’s earliest erotic graffiti.
Certainly, Dr Andreas Vlachopoulos, a specialist in prehistoric archaeology, didn’t think so when he began fieldwork on the Aegean island four years ago. Until he chanced upon a couple of racy inscriptions and large phalluses carved into Astypalaia’s rocky peninsula at Vathy. The inscriptions, both dating to the fifth and sixth centuries BC, were “so monumental in scale” – and so tantalisingly clear – he was left in no doubt of the motivation behind the artworks.
"They were what I would call triumphant inscriptions," said the Princeton-trained professor who found them while introducing students to the ancient island world of the Aegean. "They claimed their own space in large letters that not only expressed sexual desire but talked about the act of sex itself," he told the Guardian. "And that is very, very rare." Read more.
Two masterpieces of early Cycladic art were returned to Greece from Germany on Friday - including one of the largest surviving marble Cycladic idols and a rare example of the Cycladic “frying-pan” vessels made of stone.
Their return was officially sealed on Friday at an event held at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, in the gallery where they will be on display, which was attended by Culture and Sports Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, culture ministry officials, representatives of the German government and the German museum returning the artifacts, as well as reporters.
In statements, Panagiotopoulos said the return of the two ancient artifacts was a “victory of legality and a hopeful European future,” as well as a defeat for the illegal antiquities trade. Read more.
Mycenae — the ancient city of the legendary King Agamemnon, best known from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and its iconic Lion Gate and cyclopean defensive walls, has long fascinated scholars and site visitors alike with the epic proportions of its imposing citadel remains. Located about 56 miles southwest of Athens in Greece, it is a World Heritage site.
But there is another Mycenae — one known for centuries from ancient historical documents — which has nevertheless eluded the eyes of archaeologists, historians, and tourists. One might call it “Greater Mycenae”, the Lower Town. It is invisible because most of it still lies undetected, unexcavated, below the surface. In its heyday it was a second millenium BC version of urban sprawl that served as a vital element of the ancient city’s florescence. Read more.
It was in July 1984 when rescue excavations conducted by Dr. Elena Korka, now Director of the Ephorate of Private Archaeological Collections and Antiquity Shops, turned up an ancient sarcophagus of the Greek early archaic period near the town of Chiliomodi in Greece. The sarcophagus contained a female skeleton along with offerings. The interior of the sarcophagus slab was adorned with a composition consisting of two lions of monumental character. It was a remarkable find.
But this was not altogether surprising, as archaeologists and historians believed that somewhere in the area the central structural remains of the city of Tenea likely existed. Read more.
They’re some of Greece’s most celebrated beauties. And after nearly 2,500 years, it’s perhaps only fitting that they’re getting a face-lift.
The Caryatid statues, which until the late ’70s propped up a section of the Erechtheion Temple on the Acropolis, are being meticulously cleansed of grime inside the museum where they’re now housed.
Three goggle-wearing conservators zap away dirt from the marble maidens with custom-designed lasers, as tourists watch the operation on monitors. The restoration work is surrounded by a white fabric screen to protect visitors from laser beams, which can cause permanent eye injury. Read more.
A Greek archaeologist says she has discovered 20 new burials near Macedonia’s ancient capital in northern Greece, and some could tentatively be associated with the early Macedonian kings.
Excavator Angeliki Kottaridi says two of the poorly preserved graves excavated in a cemetery between 2012-2013 “might perhaps be linked” with Alexander I and his son, Perdiccas II.
Both reigned in the 5th century B.C., a century before the most famous ancient Macedonian king, Alexander III the Great.
In a statement Thursday, Kottaridi said the graves at Vergina—believed to be ancient Aegae—were looted and largely dismantled in antiquity. Surviving finds included vases and a sword.
A rich burial excavated decades ago at Vergina has been linked with Phillip II, father of Alexander the Great, although many experts disagree. (source)
In the wake of government austerity, some closest to Greece’s treasures are advocating turning them over to private companies
Many objects dug from the earth or drawn from the legends of Nemea could be used to promote the ancient Greek site: the mythological Nemean Lion slain by Hercules in the first of his seven feats; weights lifted by competitors during its ancient athletics; the bronze statue of the baby Opheltes, whose death is said to have inspired the games which rivaled those at Olympia further west.
That no replicas exist and the gift stand at the site’s museum instead sells copies of Cycladic idols from an archipelago 200km east infuriates Stephen Miller, an American archaeologist who has spent the last four decades unearthing Nemea’s treasures. “None of these had anything to do with Nemea,” he tells TIME, gesturing at the paltry selection in the glass cabinet. Read more.