Sunday, 19 May 2024
Athens
17
05
2024
It will also stay open longer, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the restaurant will be serving until midnight.  As on every weekend, visitors can enjoy the gallery tour “Saturday in the Museum with 20+1 masterpieces,” where archaeologists reveal the stories behind selected masterpieces.  To register for a spot on the English-language tour, which takes place at 10.30 a.m., click here: https://events.theacropolismuseum.gr/
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Athens
14
04
2024
The oenochoe has a trefoil-shaped mouth and a cover, and is dated to 620-600 BC. Traces of the decoration around its neck are still visible. The vessel had been given to the August Kestner Museum by geology professor Hannfrit Putzer in 1986. It was accompanied by a letter of provenance, which said it had been handed over to him after being discovered by Germans in 1943 during excavations at the southernmost end of the Corinth Canal. The vessel was also accompanied by a description of the trench and its position in it. Commenting on the return of the antiquity, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said, "The August Kestner Museum joins the group of international museums that have in recent years made great efforts to investigate provenance issues of artifacts in their collections. These (are) museums whose officials have the courage to publicize the results of their research and return to Greece the objects they have determined are linked to illegal acts. The Municipality of Hanover, in its commitment to return cultural artifacts that were stolen during the Nazi occupation to their legal owners, is returning this object of antiquity to Greece. The decision of the Municipality of Hanover and the August Kestner Museum is actual proof of their wish to contribute to the restoration of the damage Greece's cultural heritage suffered, but also to defend the reputation of the August Kestner Museum.  "The Greek state, in the first years after the end of the war, expended systematic effort to locate and repatriate the antiquities that were looted by occupying forces. This indefatigable effort continues to the present by the relevant Directorate for Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property at the Ministry of Culture, bearing fruit consistently. Museums such as the August Kestner one that assume such initiatives are our valuable allies in this effort. I express my sincere thanks to Mayor Belit Onay, Museum Director Anne Gemeinhardt, Greek Consul General in Hamburg Ioannis Vikelidis, and the Ministry staff members who worked for the repatriation of the oenochoe." The oenochoe's provenance was researched by Dr Johannes Schwarz, who was assigned by the Museum the research into the provenance of its objects. The Museum also reached out to the ministry's Directorate of Documentation for the archaeological excavation background. The entire process took two years, until the vessel was handed over by the mayor to the Greek consul general in a ceremony at the Museum in Hanover on Monday that included ministry and Museum officials and members of the local Greek community as well.  
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Athens
31
03
2024
The 4th Century B.C. artifact is a fragment of a funerary monument found in a streambed in the Attica suburb of Menidi and was delivered to the museum in November 2008 by a scrap collector.  The fragment depicts 2 bundled twin babies in the arms of a female figure and was probably part of a tombstone that would have been erected on the grave of a woman who died in childbirth.  It is the only surviving funerary relief of the ancient Greek world depicting twin babies in the same arms, which indicates their common fate. The “stele of the twin babies” will be on display at the NAM’s Altar Hall through Monday, May 13. More specifically, the Unseen Museum is the well-known exhibition project of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens that brings to the fore antiquities stored in its vaults away from the visitor’s eyes. The Unseen Museum presents for the first time the “ stele of the twin babies”. It is a fragment of a funerary monument found in a torrent at Menidi, Attica and delivered to the Museum in November 2008 by a destitute. The fragment preserves in relief two bundled twin babies in the arms of a female figure and is probably part of a tombstone that would have been erected on the grave of a woman who died in childbirth. This is the only surviving funerary relief of the ancient Greek world depicting twin babies in the same arms, which indicates their common fate as orphans. The “ stele of the twin babies” is presented in the “ Altar Hall” (no. 34) from Thursday, March 21 to Monday, May 13, 2024. Ticket reservations are necessary in order to attend the presentations that will be held on Sundays March 31, 14 and 28 April at 13:00 and on Wednesdays 10 and 24 April and 8 May at 13:00.
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London
30
03
2024
Previous director Hartwig Fischer resigned in August after the museum disclosed that more than 1,800 items were missing in an apparent case of insider theft. Many of the items had been offered for sale online. Mark Jones, former head of the Victoria and Albert Museum, has served as interim director since then. Cullinan will replace him in the summer. Cullinan has been director of the National Portrait Gallery since 2015, overseeing a major refurbishment of the building beside London’s Trafalgar Square. He has previously worked at Tate Modern in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His appointment was approved by the British Museum’s trustees and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Cullinan said it was an honor to become director of “one of the greatest museums in the world.” He said he looked forward to leading the institution through “the most significant transformations, both architectural and intellectual, happening in any museum globally, to continue making the British Museum the most engaged and collaborative it can be.” The museum fired a longstanding curator, Paul Higgs, over the missing items, and is suing him in the High Court. Lawyers for the museum say Higgs “abused his position of trust” to steal ancient gems, gold jewelry and other pieces from storerooms over the course of a decade. Higgs, who worked in the museum’s Greece and Rome department for more than 2 decades, denies the allegations and intends to dispute the museum’s legal claim. The British Museum went to court Tuesday against a former curator alleged to have stolen hundreds of artifacts from its collections and offered them for sale online . The museum is suing Peter Higgs, who was fired in July 2023 after more than 1,800 items were discovered to be missing. Lawyers for the museum say Higgs “abused his position of trust” to steal ancient gems, gold jewelry and other pieces from storerooms over the course of a decade. High Court judge Heather Williams ordered Higgs to list or return any items in his possession within four weeks. She also ordered the disclosure of his eBay and PayPal records. The museum says it has recovered 356 of the missing items so far, and hopes to get more back. “The items that have been stolen from the museum are of cultural and historical significance,” museum lawyer Daniel Burgess said in written legal arguments. Burgess said the defendant tried to “cover his tracks” by using fake names, creating false documents, manipulating the museum’s records and selling artifacts at less than their value. He did not attend Tuesday’s hearing due to poor health, lawyers said. A separate police investigation into the case is ongoing, and Higgs has not been charged with a crime. Museum director Hartwig Fischer resigned after the loss of the items was revealed in August, apologizing for failing to take seriously enough a warning from an art historian that artifacts from its collection were being sold on eBay. Chairman of trustees George Osborne has acknowledged that the reputation of the 265-year-old institution has been damaged by the episode. The 18th-century museum in central London’s Bloomsbury district is one of Britain’s biggest tourist attractions, visited by 6 million people a year. They come to see a collection that ranges from Egyptian mummies and ancient Greek statues to Viking hoards, scrolls bearing 12th-century Chinese poetry and masks created by the Indigenous peoples of Canada. The 18th-century museum in central London’s Bloomsbury district is one of Britain’s biggest tourist attractions, visited by 6 million people a year. They come to see a collection that ranges from Egyptian mummies and ancient Greek statues to Viking hoards, scrolls bearing 12th-century Chinese poetry and masks created by the Indigenous peoples of Canada. The museum faces growing pressure over items taken from other countries during the period of the British Empire – especially the Parthenon Marbles, 2,500-year-old sculptures that were taken from Athens in the early 19th century by British diplomat Lord Elgin. Greece has campaigned for decades for the marbles to be returned. The British Museum is banned by law from giving the sculptures back to Greece, but its leaders have held talks with Greek officials about a compromise, such as a long-term loan. Those efforts suffered a setback in November, when a diplomatic spat erupted over the marbles, and Prime Minister Sunak abruptly canceled a planned meeting with his Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. British Museum Chairman George Osborne said that with Cullinan’s appointment, the institution was entering “a new chapter in the long story of the British Museum with confidence, and back on the front foot.” 
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Kasos
18
03
2024
Since 2019, the National Research Foundation’s research team, in collaboration with the Culture Ministry, has conducted four research missions on the island, using archaeological and historical evidence, sources, and references ranging from Homer’s Iliad to recent years. The shipwrecks date from 3000 BC, the Classical period (460 BC), the Hellenistic period (100 BC – AD 100) and the Roman years (200 BC – AD 300) and the Byzantine period (AD 800-900).
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Valley of the Temples
10
03
2024
The 8-meter-high representation of the mythological giant Telamon once supported the temple of Zeus, one of the famed Doric constructions on the site that art historians consider the principal ancient Greek historical record outside Greece itself. “Telamon will become … the new international ambassador of an archaeological site with no equals worldwide,” said Sicily’s cultural heritage councilor Francesco Paolo Scarpinato. The stone statue returned to guard the temple on Thursday, following 20 years of restoration work. In ancient times the giant was one of numerous Telamon statues that were part of the temple’s structure. It was reassembled from 90 fragments from the fifth century BC and dug up by archaeologists over a century ago, Sicily’s regional government said in a statement. The Temple of Zeus was built to celebrate Agrigento’s victory over the Carthaginians and was irreparably damaged by an earthquake in 1401. Raiders looted the site in the 18th century and some remaining building blocks were used to build a pier at the nearby coastal town of Porto Empedocle. Since the 1800s, when experts first stumbled upon the remains of the Telamon statues, the temple has attracted the interest of scholars determined to unearth its buried secrets. The 1,300-hectare Valley of the Temples was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and is now a mass tourism destination which Scarpinato said drew over a million visitors in 2023. The Temple of Zeus will receive extensive restoration work ahead of Agrigento becoming Italy’s culture capital for 2025, said Sicily’s regional president Renato Schifani. The Telamon would be a centerpiece of the city’s year in the spotlight, promising “an augmented reality project and even special lighting to encourage nighttime visits … to promote this impressive work internationally,” Scarpinato said.
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Athens
29
02
2024
According to a ministry statement, the goal is to upgrade the current system and showcase the monument and its immediate surroundings without interventions or alterations to its character. The new lighting will make the  monument's size and design more perceptible and be environmentally friendly, offering significant energy savings. Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni stated: "Twenty years after the installation of the existing lighting at the Temple of Poseidon during the Olympic Games, the physical wear and tear of time, failures and alterations in the light fixtures that resulted in the alteration of the lighting, require the installation of a modern lighting system." According to the same announcement, the study for the lighting system installation will be carried out in two phases. The study has been drafted by the office of internationally acclaimed lighting expert Eleftheria Deko and her associates, sponsored by Mytilineos company in collaboration with the ministry. Deko is responsible for the new lighting of the Parthenon.
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Athens
07
02
2024
Speaking to lawmakers in Parliament, Lina Mendoni said that “upgrades of all services,” such as a new electronic ticket system, have driven a “constant increase” in the iconic historical site’s revenues. Responding to objections at a decision to increase the cost of admission, which opposition lawmakers say will go up as much as 300%, Mendoni said that the monument’s new pricing falls in line with policies established in other European Union member states, and that it will be implemented come April of 2025.  
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Athens
03
02
2024
According to a ministry statement, 2 antiquities that had been illegally removed from Greek territory at an unknown time were repatriated from Bern. These are: - A fragment of a stone inscription (0.186m x 0.169m x 0.086m) from which five verses with main names are partially preserved. The inscription dates to the Hellenistic era (late 3rd - early 2nd century BCE) and is said to originate from the island of Kos. - A fragment of a marble Ionic capital (0.228m x 0.228m x 0.17m), dating to the Roman era (1st - 2nd century CE), with its provenance stated as the Ancient Agora of Corinth. According to Ministry of Culture, "The objects were delivered by Swiss citizens in the autumn of 2022 and spring of 2023, respectively, to the Archaeological Service of the Canton of the Grisons (Canton des Grisons), which documented their Greek origin. In implementation of the bilateral agreement between the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation and the Government of the Hellenic Republic on the import, transit, and repatriation of cultural goods, ratified by Law 3915/2011, the Federal Office of Culture of Switzerland informed appropriately the Embassy of Greece in Bern and the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property, as the competent authority of the Greek Ministry of Culture." The repatriation of these 2 ancient artifacts, the ministry said, “demonstrates the effectiveness of bilateral agreements for preventing and addressing the illegal trafficking of cultural goods that Greece has entered into with many countries, in line with the relevant recommendation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It also serves as evidence of the impact of various initiatives implemented both nationally and internationally to raise awareness among citizens about the issue of antiquities trafficking and the need to protect cultural heritage”.
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Athens
07
01
2024
Adjusted prices will be introduced in two phases, the first one starting on April 1st, 2024 and the second one on April 1st, 2025. The 5 new categories of ticketing are as follows: A. Acropolis of Athens, 30 euros B. Archaeological sites and museums (over 200,000 visitors), 20 euros C. Archaeological sites and museums (75,000-200,000 visitors), 15 euros D. Archaeological sites and museums (15,000-75,000 visitors), 10 euros E. Archaeological sites and museums (under 15,000 visitors), 5 euros These ticket prices will be in effect regardless of season, as lower winter prices are abolished. The 5 major Greek museums that were turned into independent entities of public interest, will establish their own pricing policy. These include the National Archaeological Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio, the Byzantine & Christian Museum (Athens), and the Museum of Byzantine Culture (Thessaloniki). Single tickets for multiple sites will be abolished except for the following sites: Ancient Olympia, Delphi, Mycenae, and Aegae, or where necessary due to spatial considerations. Free entrance will continue to be offered for EU citizens up to age 25, and for non-EU citizens up to age 25, and reduced ticket prices for EU citizens aged 65+ (October 1-May 31st). A Culture Card will be issued through gov.gr or the local Citizen Service Centers (KEP) for Greek taxpayers, under specific categories.  
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Vergina
06
01
2024
Mitsotakis stressed that the site is testimony to the, “timeless Greek identity of Macedonia through the ages.” Attending the inauguration of the recently restored Palace of Aigai, the PM noted the “great honor” he feels as premier to associate his name and that of his government with the emblematic restoration work at one of the country’s most important archaeological site. He emphasized the global significance of the recently restored structure in northern Greece, declaring it a heritage for the entire world while emphasizing the necessity of transforming such historical treasures into catalysts for economic development. “The significance of such monuments becomes the heritage of the entire world. We must highlight it, promote it, and expand the horizons revealed by each new facet,” Mitsotakis said during the inauguration ceremony on Friday. Mitsotakis emphasized that the monument should serve as an invitation to knowledge and participation, enhancing a sense of belonging and acting as a lever for development. He pledged a political effort to increase the number of visitors to the site, stating, “The more visitors, the more the economy will be stimulated, and the more dynamically this unique cradle of culture will radiate its influence to every corner of the world.” Accompanied by dignitaries and local officials, the prime minister received a guided tour from Angeliki Kottaridi, the head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Imathia. “Aigai” comes from the same root as the ancient Greek word aiga (goat). With an area of approximately 15,000 square meters, it was the largest building in classical Greece. The project to maintain and restore the Palace of the Goats lasted 16 years and was completed in 2023 with a total budget of 20.3 million Euros. The city of Aigai (Vergina) was the first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, and was upgraded with an extensive building program by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.  More specifically, Vergina is a village in Northern Greece in the foothills of Mt. Pieria some 75 km from Thessaloniki. It is the location of the ancient capital of the Macedonians, called Aigai which had its heydays during the Archaic and Classic Periods 7th through 4th Centuries B.C. The Palace of Philip II at Aigai is the largest and (together with the Parthenon) the most important building of Classical Greece. You can also visit the site of the Royal Tombs, considered to be one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the last century in the country. In related news, the new museum of Aigai on opened to the public just last year in the town of Vergina, which incorporates the entire archaeological site, the center of ancient Macedonian culture. The new museum unites the Palace of Philip, the royal tombs cluster, and the Museum of the Royal Tombs. It is designed as a conceptual gateway to the archaeological site and to the history of Aigai and of Macedonian culture, as well as of the Hellenistic World, as it will also serve as the site of the Digital Museum “Alexander the Great: from Aigai to the World.”
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Athens
26
12
2023
Starting April 1st, 2024, Greece plans to offer exclusive guided tours of its most powerful tourist magnet to handfuls of well-heeled visitors outside normal opening hours. The measure is part of an overhaul of ticketing policy for Greece’s archaeological sites and museums, which will see across-the-board increases as of April 2025. An official at Greece’s Culture Ministry said Friday that the new Acropolis service will apply to a maximum four groups of up to five people each. It will cost 5,000 euros ($5,500) per group, although individuals prepared to cover the full group fee are welcome to visit on their own. “We decided to implement (the measure) ... because there is demand, people have been asking for it” Divari-Valakou told The Associated Press. “It won’t harm the archaeological site, indeed it will contribute to its better promotion,” she added. “And the revenues will be reinvested in cultural projects and monuments.” The visits, with certified guides, will last up to two hours; from 7-9 a.m. just before the site opens, or 8-10 p.m. after it closes. Divari-Valakou said if it goes well, the program could be expanded from 2025 to include other major sites. Dominating the Athens skyline, the Acropolis and its 2,500-year-old marble monuments — including the Parthenon Temple, whose sculptures prompted a decades-old dispute with Britain — is Greece’s most-visited ancient site. Amid a surge of tourist arrivals in the country, it attracted more than 3 million people in 2022. The press of up to 23,000 daily visitors drove the Culture Ministry in September to announce caps on entry numbers and other restrictions from 2024. An advisory board of senior ministry officials decided on the private visits program amid an overhaul of ticketing policy this week. The government is expected to formally approve it in coming days. A ministry statement Wednesday said the new overall ticket policy will come into effect in April 2025. It will include a 50% increase in prices for ordinary Acropolis tickets, from 20 to 30 euros ($22-£33) — although the number of free entry days during the winter will be doubled to two a month. The cheapest tickets for Greece’s sites and museums will go up from 2 to 5 euros ($2.20-$5.51). (does ordinary prices of 20-30 euros apply to Acropolis or all sites? Confused since there are cheaper tickets.) The ministry said the prices ticket increase was deemed necessary due to the surge in post-pandemic visitor numbers, “and the fact that the current prices ... are very low compared to the European average.”  
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