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The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation presented, on the 8th of December 2014, the new addition to “The Museums Cycle” publication program, entitled “Kerameikos”. Since the beginning of the program in 1997, until today, readers have had the chance to experience, via a different perspective, some of the most renowned museums, as well as some of the lesser-known museums and archaeological sites in Greece.
Kerameikos, which has constituted an integral part of Athens since ancient times, inspires an array of symbolisms. The valuable findings in the archeological site include a plethora of beautiful sculptures which adorned the tombs of prominent citizens in Ancient Athens, unique ceramics depicting scenes from mythology as well as everyday life, relics from Pompeii upon the antediluvian walls which was the origin of the largest celebration of the city, the Panathenaiac procession, which concluded at the Acropolis, pottery fragments which were used for the ostracization of famous Athenians such as Themistocles and Kimon.
In her foreword, Ms. Marianna J. Latsis mentions that: “Strolling through the center of Athens, it is truly worthwhile to spend some time in Kerameikos, treating it not simply as an archaeological site, but as a living and venerable part of the city. It is an unexpected cultural and historical interlude amidst the rush of our daily lives where one can stand beside the tombstones, themselves works of art, feel the breeze and fragrances of each passing season, walk amongst the traces of ancient roads and discover one’s own corner that will provide peace and tranquility.”
The Minister of Culture and Sports, Mr. Konstantinos Tasoulas, highlighted that: “The Kerameikos sums up all that was important about Athens: “the praises of the Demos and the Sophists, the difficult, invaluable ‘well done’” as well as “the mean observances, pettiness, and indifference” that brought men like Cleon to power. It is this Kerameikos that is revealed in this high-quality volume, the fruitful partnership between two distinguished public servant archaeologists and the John S. Latsis Foundation, which in continuing its valuable series “The Museums Cycle” is now offering Greece a precious legacy of history and knowledge.
During the presentation event, Mr. Vaggelis Chronis, a Member of the Executive Board, in his speech on behalf of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, noted that: “The primary goal of the publication program “The Museums Cycle” is the showcasing of each museum and archaeological site, hence scientific texts, rich illustrations and meticulous editorial production. In addition to the gratis bestowal of the volumes to the Ministry of Culture and Sports, universities, museums and research centers in Greece, the publication is also available to important institutions abroad. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Museum of Modern Art in Doha, from Hermitage and the Oxford University to the Library of Alexandria. A large number of educational, cultural and research institutions are recipients of every publication, which are available, both in Greek and in English, on the website of the Foundation www.latsis-foundation.org”.
The writers of the volume, Ms. Eleni S. Banou, Archaeologist, Director of the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Athens, and Mr. Leonidas Bournias, Archaeologist, responsible for the archaeological site and the museum of Kerameikos, gave their own perspective on the volume.
More specifically, Ms E. Banou emphasized that: “We believe that this book will trigger the development of the site of Kerameikos Since the renovation of the Archaeological museum in 2004 by the 3rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, , the Ephorate has engaged in an effort to reform the site, through activities such as studies for the re-exhibition of unknown sculptures as well as restoration and conservation of monuments”.
Mr. L. Bournias stated that: “We made every effort to showcase the monuments in relation to the wider historical backdrop of the era and the society which birthed them” while adding “Our intention was highlight the lesser-known monuments. Thus, alongside the renowned and most photographed monuments which visitors can enjoy, in the museum’s permanent exhibition, we chose to include artifacts which, due to limited space in spite of their significance are not on display”.
The volume “Kerameikos” consists of a total of 330 pages and is illustrated with 405 photographs taken by Socratis Mavrommatis. Eirine Louvrou of OLKOS publications supervised the overall production of the book, Dimitris Kalokyris was responsible for the design and artistic supervision, while it was printed by Fotolio & Typicon SA. Colour separations are by Indigo Graphics SA, image processing by Nikos Lagos and Eliza Kokkini, and binding by G. Iliopoulos. Pandelis Boukalas was the copy editor; the English translation is by Deborah Kazazis.