Archive for januar, 2016


Archaeologists make exciting discovery at Aptera in Crete

Archaeologists excavating the site of Ancient Aptera in Iraklio, Crete, on Tuesday announced the discovery of two small yet spectacular statues depicting the gods Artemis and Apollo.

The two statues, which are believed to be a pair, have a height of about half a meter, including their pedestals, and are believed to date to the second half of the 1st century or early 2nd century AD.

That of Artemis, the hunting goddess worshiped in Aptera, is cast in bronze, while her brother Apollo is carved from marble.

The goddess, standing on an ornate base also of bronze, is in an excellent state of preservation, the head of the excavation, Vanna Niniou-Kindeli, said, with all of her limbs intact and posed as though ready to shoot an arrow.

The statue of Apollo, said the archaeologist, is much simpler in style – possibly denoting the god’s junior position to his sister – but well executed and with traces of rare red paint at its base.

The two sculptures may have been imported to the island in order to adorn the Roman-era villa in which they were found, archaeologists believe.

Aptera’s survived from Minoan through Hellenistic times, after which it fell into decline.


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Australian Schools Brought Back Greek and Latin – and Are Seeing Amazing Results!

In 2015, less than 40% of American 4th and 8th-graders achieved proficiency in reading. Public schools have been trying to boost these numbers for years, but have had little success.

But news out of Australia may offer a new way to boost not only America’s reading proficiency, but math and science proficiency, as well. How? They’re teaching students some Latin and Greek.

From The Australian:

“A program that borrows from the classics is giving pupils who have fallen behind their classmates a huge boost in deciphering English and even helping with maths and science.

Some children have advanced by six years in as many weeks, by using the technique to decode words and broaden their vocabulary, research has found.

Pupils learn dozens of prefix, stem and suffix meanings, most originating from Greek or Latin, so they can work out what words mean, or can have an educated guess.

Research at Northumbria University found that children made, on average, 27 months of progress, but one school reported a small group improving their reading age by six years. Exam results have risen, not only in English but also other subjects, because children are more confident with terminology.”

Such reports underscore the benefits which many have attributed to learning inflected languages such as Latin or Greek. According to author and classical education enthusiast Dorothy Sayers, learning Latin helps in the five following ways:

1. It Demystifies English Grammar
Despite never learning proper English grammar, Sayers was able to write and speak far better than others who did. This she attributed to her knowledge of Latin grammar, which is much less confusing and more structured than that of English.

2. It Boosts Vocabulary
According to Sayers, “Latin is the key to fifty percent of our vocabulary-either directly, or through French and other Romance languages. Without some acquaintance with the Latin roots, the meaning of each word has to be learnt and memorized separately….”

3. It Lays the Foundation for Other Languages
Because it is at the root of many popular modern languages, learning Latin first greatly reduces the time investment for other languages. Sayers attests that her knowledge of Latin enabled her to learn Italian in a relatively short amount of time – as an adult!

4. It Sheds Light on Literature
On this point, Sayers notes, “The literature of our own country and of Europe is so studded and punctuated with Latin phrases and classical allusions that without some knowledge of Latin it must be very difficult to make anything of it.”

5. It Boosts Comprehension
Such is particularly true when it comes to word derivation. As Sayers implies, a knowledge of Latin would instantly allow us to recognize how our understanding of such modern catch phrases as “civility” and “justice” are rather flawed.

As history demonstrates, Latin and Greek used to be regular fare in America’s public schools. Is it possible that the modern rejection of the classical languages has contributed to the falling proficiency scores with which America wrestles today? Would we, like the Australians, see a revival in reading, math, and science if we restored Latin and Greek to the public school curriculum?


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Archaeologists Discover Large Ancient Theater on Greek Island of Lefkada

Archaeologists Discover Large Ancient Theater on Greek Island of Lefkada

By Ioanna Zikakou

Archaeological excavations on the Ionian island of Lefkada have brought to light a previously undiscovered and sizeable ancient theater, the culture minister announced on Wednesday. It said the find was made on Koulmou hill toward the end of 2015.

Test “sections” were cut in an area on the northeast flank of Koulmou’s middle hill, which forms an amphitheatrical downward hollow ending in a lengthy flat section, the ministry announcement said. It noted that archaeologists knew very little about the city’s ancient theater, which was not mentioned in any ancient sources, though the logs of an early 20th-century archaeological excavation under the direction of German archaeologist Ε. Κrüger, lasting only a few days, recorded the discovery of signs indicating the presence of an ancient theater.

The Aitoloakarnania and Lefkada Antiquities Ephorate dug sections in 13 places, which confirmed the existence of the theater and uncovered rows of seats, parts of the orchestra and some of the retaining walls for the stage and other parts of the theater.

The ministry said that six sections revealed seats carved from the rock, about 0.73 to 0.90 meters deep and 0.22-0.33 meters high. Others found the orchestra and a section of a wall in a quadrant plan, up to 0.6 meters across. Also found in the sections were portions retaining walls.

The culture ministry said that continuing the excavation in order to reveal and protect the monument will be a priority for the ministry’s services, adding that the Lefkada Municipality and Ionian Islands Regional Authority have both supported the work.


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Intact horse skeleton discovered in ancient cemetery in southern coastal Athens


A burial site containing an unusually well preserved skeleton of a horse, intact even down to the hooves, was among the finds discovered during landscaping works around the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in the Faliro Delta, a prime tract of land in southern coastal Athens and previously hosted the country’s only pari-mutuel horse track. The find was presented to the Central Archaeological Council during a session held on Tuesday, with members stressing its importance.

«In the Faliro necropolis we have found four complete horse graves, as well as parts of other skeletons, therefore, it is not something rare for the area. What is rare and surprised us was the degree of preservation of the specific skeleton, which even has its hooves. For zoo-archaeologists or a university, this find could be an excellent opportunity for a study. Having such a large number of skeletons – four is quite a number – such a study could reach a number of conclusions on the breeds and the evolution of the species. From this point of view, this find is very important,» the top archaeologist Stella Chrysoulaki explained.

Chrysoulaki is in charge of the excavation, which is near works to dig an artificial canal on the grounds around the centre.

She noted that buried horses in a cemetery for people periodically occurred, while it was not strange for the Faliro necropolis, «where unbelievable things happen.» She noted that it was a cemetery stretching from the archaic era into the Classical era, containing many strange and unusual finds.

One such was the discovery of two skeletons, possibly of a couple, lying with their hands clasped. This indicated that they actually died together, since rigor mortis did not allow other conclusion, she said.

A total of 136 burial sites dating back to the archaic era had been found in the 840-square-metre ancient cemetery, including the horse burial site and sections of a mass grave, burial urns and other finds.

The Central Archaeological Council approved continuing construction works over the discovered structurs, which mostly consisted of holes in the ground, while the skeletons were removed for study. Proposals were made to display and highlight some of the finds at the cultural centre.




Tegea Archaeological Museum in the running for European Museum of the Year Award


Greece’s culture ministry and the Arcadia Antiquities Ephorate on Friday announced that the Tegea Archaeological Museum has been nominated as a candidate for the European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) in 2016.
The museum was included in a list of candidates posted on the website of the European Museum Forum, which organises the competition, after a meeting of the judges’ committee in Zagreb. The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony to be held from April 6-9 at Tolosa and San Sebastian in Spain.

The Tegea Museum’s dossier was put together in the spring of 2015 and submitted to the EMF with the support of the Stasinopoulos-Viohalco Public Benefit Foundation. The museum is situated in the traditional settlement of Alea in Tripoli, in the centre of the Peloponnese and was one of the first public museums of the independent Greek state, founded in 1907. Recently, it was been extensively refurbished, with improvements to both the building and the exhibition, using EU funds and reopened in 2014. It is the only Greek museum participating in this year’s EMYA competition.

Established in 1977 under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the EMYA is awarded annually with the aim of encouraging the best practices and innovative actions by museums in Europe



Archaeological Discovery Yields Surprising Revelations about Europe’s Oldest City

New evidence suggests that an ancient Aegean city not only recovered but also flourished following the collapse of the Bronze Age.
By Dawn Fuller

Recent fieldwork at the ancient city of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete finds that during the early Iron Age (1100 to 600 BC), the city was rich in imports and was nearly three times larger than what was believed from earlier excavations.

The discovery suggests that not only did this spectacular site in the Greek Bronze Age (between 3500 and 1100 BC) recover from the collapse of the socio-political system around 1200 BC, but also rapidly grew and thrived as a cosmopolitan hub of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions. Antonis Kotsonas, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of classics, will highlight his field research with the Knossos Urban Landscape Project at the 117th annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America and Society for Classical Studies. The meeting takes place Jan. 7-10 in San Francisco.

Kotsonas explains that Knossos, “renowned as a glorious site of the Greek Bronze Age, the leader of Crete and the seat of the palace of the mythical King Minos and the home of the enigmatic labyrinth,” was the prosperous epicenter of Minoan culture.

Scholars have studied the city’s Bronze Age remains for more than a century, but more recent research has focused on the urban development of the city after it entered the Iron Age – in the 11th century BC – following the Bronze Age collapse of the Aegean palaces.

The Knossos Urban Landscape Project over the past decade has recovered a large collection of ceramics and artifacts dating back to the Iron Age. The relics were spread over an extensive area that was previously unexplored. Kotsonas says that this exploration revealed considerable growth in the size of the settlement during the early Iron Age and also growth in the quantity and quality of its imports coming from mainland Greece, Cyprus, the Near East, Egypt, Italy, Sardinia and the western Mediterranean.

“No other site in the Aegean period has such a range of imports,” Kotsonas says. The imports include bronze and other metals – jewelry and adornments, as well as pottery. He adds that the majority of the materials, recovered from tombs, provide a glimpse of the wealth in the community, because status symbols were buried with the dead during this period.

The antiquities were collected from fields covering the remains of dwellings and cemeteries. “Distinguishing between domestic and burial contexts is essential for determining the size of the settlement and understanding the demographic, socio-political and economic development of the local community,” explains Kotsonas. “Even at this early stage in detailed analysis, it appears that this was a nucleated, rather densely occupied settlement extending over the core of the Knossos valley, from at least the east slopes of the acropolis hill on the west to the Kairatos River, and from the Vlychia stream on the south until roughly midway between the Minoan palace and the Kephala hill.”

Kotsonas’ Jan. 9 presentation is part of a colloquium themed, “Long-Term Urban Dynamics at Knossos: The Knossos Urban Landscape Project, 2005-2015.” Kotsonas serves as a consultant on the project, which is dedicated to intensively surveying the Knossos valley and documenting the development of the site from 7000 BC, to the early 20th century. The project is a research partnership between the Greek Archaeological Service and the British School at Athens. Kotsonas has served as a collaborator on the project since 2009.


— Eleni

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Architecture, academia and the birthplace of democracy: Athens is the grandest open-air university in the world

Walking the cobblestone pathway of Europe’s largest archaeological park in Athens is a rewarding history lesson in the world’s grandest open-air university.

There are no fees. No professors. No homework. You don’t even have to attend everyday, just as and when there’s an itch of intrigue.

Like Rome, Athens surrounds you with the ancient: the Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysus, Herodes Atticus, Arch of Hadrian and the Athenian Trilogy. It’s the crumbling Meccano kit of empires built and empires destroyed.

David Constable visited Athens to experience the stunning remnants of yesteryear's empires
David Constable visited Athens to experience
the stunning remnants of yesteryear’s empires

No other country can boast such a hard-bastard dynasty of athletes, Titans and Gigantes. And it’s the Greek history and landscapes, even more than empirical brick-and-mortar that jointly built the modern Greece we know today.

Here is a country routed in our consciousness, whether we’ve visited it or not. The names of ancient Gods and Goddesses are taught to us at an early age, and the epistemology of their philosophers still widely referenced in society today.

Those of you with a loathsome memory of school Maths will recall Pythagoras’s Theorem, the Trigonometry thorn that created hatred in all exam-sitters for Greek mathematicians. Then, there are the philosophers and the poets – the scholars. Greek mythology and Greek tragedies. When we think of the Olympics, we think of Greece. Even their yoghurts are famous.

With only a passing knowledge of the ancient capital, I set out to discover how notorious and historical Athens was merging with the modern, in what is one of the world’s oldest cities.

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