Thursday, April 27, 2006

Underwater Archaeology in Greece

Some links for those interested in marine and underwater research in Greece.

Hellenic Centre for Marine Research

Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology

A brief introduction on the history of underwater research in Greece is provided by Alexis Catsambis (PDF).

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The "Runner's Ring"

A few days ago, John Younger reported on Aegeanet the publication of a new Minoan gold ring.

"The ring comes from a disturbed deposit with Neopalatial sherds (some Postpalatial), and should be stylistically Knossian in manufacture and LM IA in date.

D. bezel 1.8 x 0.9 cm; D hoop 1.25; Wt 2.07 gr

Two figures flank a running nude man; the figure on the left (in impression) is a woman making a gesture (identified as a priestess rather than a goddess), and the figure on the right is a man in a hide skirt holding an omega-like object (identified as a small "Snake Frame"). Above the runner are two objects identified as a "star" and a "shooting star."

There are good iconographic parallels for everything but the runner - he is unique in Minoan-Mycenaean art (as the authors say, "the closest parallels ... occur on Panathenaic amphoras"); the authors do cite the stone rhyton fragment from Gypsades, Knossos, that has a nude male in motion with arms gesturing, but he is not exactly in the strenuous pose of the runner on the Syme ring.

The authors identify the ring as the personal dedication of a victor in a footrace."

Fore further info, read: Lebessi, A., P. Muhly, and G. Papasavvas, "The Runner's Ring, a Minoan Athlete's Dedication at the Syme Sanctuary, Crete," AthMit 119, 2004, 1-31.

Even more on the illicities antiquities case...

Following the discovery of hundreds of illegal antiquities at a villa on the island of Schinoussa, the policeman leading the investigation explained to Kathimerini how organized networks are able to turn their plunder into legal ancient artifacts on the international market.

Giorgos Gligoris, the head of the Illegal Antiquities Department of Attica Police, has been leading the probe into how hundreds of unregistered artifacts ended up on the island, south of Naxos. The discovery was made on April 13.

Full Story

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good Friday today in Greece...

...and Athens is like a deserted town. Thousands of people have already left in order to celebrate Easter at their villages or cottages in the countryside.

As I'm writing this, I can hear the bells of my local church ringing solemnly. Later tonight, the Epitaphios (the tomb of Christ with its crucified icon in it and decorated with hundreds of flowers) will be taken out of the church and carried away through the neighborhood followed by a slow procession. The procession, which is preceded by a band playing solemn music, consists of the clergy, the altar boys who carry the liturgical fans and the local people who sing hymns and hold lighted candles in their hands.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

Source: ekathimerini

Even more on the illicit antiquities case...

The first arrest to have come about after the discovery of a massive haul of illegal antiquities on the island of Schinoussa took place yesterday when police took into custody the caretaker of the villa where the artifacts were found.

Constantinos Grispos was arrested after four ancient amphorae, which allegedly had not been declared to authorities, were found at his home.

Full Story

Monday, April 17, 2006

Zeus worshippers want to head for Acropolis

Worshippers of the 12 Olympian gods are planning to ask the Greek government to allow them to practice their faith at ancient sites like the Acropolis.

The followers of this faith have been buoyed by a court ruling in February that allowed the existence of an association, known as Ellinais, whose members claim to worship the Olympian gods.

Ellinais was formed last October by 23 Greeks but in its annual report on religious freedom, the US State Department estimates that some 2,000 people worship the ancient Greek gods.

Sources said Ellinais will seek permission from the Culture Ministry to establish places of worship and to be allowed to worship at ancient temples such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion.

Source: ekathimerini