Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


Tuesday, 11 May 2021, 19:00 (Athens time)

“Above the lintel of the tomb, in the granite cornice, a small oak tree sprouted within the stone triangle.” An unknown and fascinating chronicle of research at the Treasury of Atreus, before and after the Greek Revolution

The lecture will take place online at the link

Although around three millennia had passed since its construction, the Treasury of Atreus remained intact and impressive during the years of the Greek Revolution, leaving visitors in awe and admiration. This lecture aims to reveal the fascinating and largely unknown history of early research at the monument, also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon, which was for centuries interwoven with myths and traditions and high expectations. The lecture is divided into two parts. The first, by Nektarios Karadimas, presents the history of the monument from the time of Pausanias, until shortly before the excavation by Panagiotis Stamatakis in 1878. The first travellers who visited the monument and its initial depictions during the pre-revolutionary period are discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on the largely unknown early excavations carried out by Lord Elgin in 1802 and those of Veli Pasha in 1810, son of Ali Pasha, along with the mysterious fate of the objects recovered. The presentation follows the history of the Treasury during the difficult years of the Greek Revolution when it served as a resting place for foreign philhellenes and volunteers in the struggle; until the early years of the newly founded Greek state, when it continued to be a popular and frequently visited attraction.

In the second part of the lecture, Konstantinos Paschalidis presents the first systematic excavations at the Treasury by Panagiotis Stamatakis during the winter of 1878, and subsequent investigations by Alan Wace, director of the British School at Athens during 1920 and 1921, and then again in 1939. Housed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the handwritten daily logs of Stamatakis are presented for the first time, shedding light on his insightful thoughts, along with his annexes of plans and notes. The hundreds of stone fragments that made up the relief decoration of the facade of the monument will be discussed, along with the remains of the grave goods recovered which have remained safe and largely unknown in the National Museum for 130 years. The lecture concludes with a re-examination of the dating, use and types of burials, the final looting episode and the possible use of the monument as a place of worship, as well as its emergence as a magnet for countless travellers during late antiquity.

 The lecture will be presented in Greek, while the PowerPoint will include English subtitles.



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