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Launched today at the premises of the Association of Greek Archaeologists was “Prehistoric Thira”, the new volume in the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation’s publishing programme “The Museums Cycle”. The volume is the work of the archaeologist Mr. Christos Doumas, emeritus professor at the University of Athens, who has been involved for nearly five decades in the excavations at Akrotiri. Other attendees at the function were Mrs. Lydia Koniordou, Minister of Culture & Sports, Mr. Costas Gavroglou, Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, and members of the archaeological community.
The volume presents the finds from the archaeological site at Akrotiri in Santorini, a large part of which is being exhibited at the Museum of Prehistoric Thira. More significant, however, are the restored murals from public buildings and private homes in the Akrotiri settlement, displayed in the volume for the first time, since they are not exhibited in the museum, and highlighting the unique style of representational art that had evolved there. The exquisite depiction of the “convoy”, a 4-metre-long painting which once adorned a private home; the large mural composition of the saffron collectors - a work created for one of the settlement’s public buildings – the representation of the ceremonial initiation rite and the young people in it: these are just a few examples of the great restoration work being carried out by the workshop at the Akrotiri archaeological site.
In her preface to the volume Mrs. Marianna Latsis remarks: “For our Foundation, every new publication constitutes a message of culture; the knowledge this book has brought together, the beauty of the artistry radiating from its pages all help to disseminate throughout the world the everyday life, the spirit, the ethos and the values that were born and developed in this corner of the Mediterranean”. She added: “Thira’s world-class cultural repository will continue to attract knowledgeable devotees of the history of a civilization that flourished and then remained silent for centuries until the revelatory work of the excavations brought it to light.”
Minister of Culture and Sports, Mrs Lydia Koniordou, pointed out in her prologue: “This year’s publication in the series entitled ‘Prehistoric Thira’ presents not only the prehistoric town of Akrotiri and the Museum of Prehistoric Thira but also some unique or characteristic finds which have yet to go on display. Thus another volume is added to the “Museums Cycle” series of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, representing a marriage of high aesthetics and scientific documentation, in which the author, Professor Christos Doumas, director of the Akrotiri excavation, through the most recent finds from Akrotiri, conveys to readers the culture of the prehistoric Aegean’s brilliant epicentre.
In his address Mr. Vaggelis Chronis, member of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation’s executive board, noted: “the current social and financial crisis is certainly affecting the way foundations operate today. It is vital to support vulnerable social groups and refugees and present opportunities in education. The Foundation is extending its public benefit work across a wide range of issues, such as protection of children, the fight against food insecurity, support of public schools through innovative educational programmes, provision of scholarships at the undergraduate and postgraduate level, modernization of health infrastructure and much else. Culture cannot be absent from History, nor can it be allowed to occupy the back seat. We thus believe that the “Museums Cycle” publishing programme, which aims to bring high aesthetics and scientific documentation together, is a significant endeavour and an important part of its work.”
The publication’s author, archaeologist Mr. Christos Doumas, emphasizes that: “2017 will mark the completion of a half century since the beginning of the excavation at Thira’s Akrotiri. It is truly a fortunate development that the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation decided to bring out a special publication on the prehistoric town that came to light there, and on the Museum of Prehistoric Thira where a selection of the many finds from the site have been put on display. Due to the work carried out over the last five decades both at the archaeological site and in the on-site conservation workshop, it has become possible to trace the history of the prehistoric settlement and its gradual development, as well as obtaining an overall picture of the progress of the society that used to inhabit it.”
“Prehistoric Thira”, like all the previous installments of the “Museums Cycle” publishing programme, is not commercial in character. The Foundation is implementing a broad programme of free distribution to research, educational and cultural bodies in Greece and abroad, given that the book is also being published in English. At the same time, the volume is also available in e-book format in both languages at the Foundation’s online library, freely accessible through the website www.latsis-foundation.org.
Contributors: Mrs. Eirini Louvrou of OLKOS publications is the edition’s co-ordination manager; Mr. Sokratis Mavrommatis did the photography; Mr. Dimitris Kalokyris was responsible for the artwork; the image editing was done by Mrs Eliza Kokkini and Mr. Nikos Lagos; Mrs. Alexandra Douma translated the texts into English; the book’s layout was undertaken by Mrs. Loukia Kantzouraki; Mr. Pantelis Boukalas was the printing editor; Fotolio & Typicon printing houses did the printing and the binding was done by G. Iliopoulos & Co. E.E.
You can access the e-book here.