The Archaeological Society at Athens
When the state of Greece was founded in 1830, after the War of Independence, the first governments were immediately faced with the great problems of the economy, public administration and education. The last of these also included the question of the country’s ancient treasures, which had been looted and destroyed over the centuries by traffickers in antiquities. However, the official Antiquities Service was undermanned and incapable of taking proper care of the ancient remains, and so on January 6th 1837, on the initiative of a wealthy merchant named Constantinos Belios, a group of scholars and politicians founded the Archaeological Society at Athens with the objects of locating, re-erecting and restoring the antiquities of Greece.
As an independent learned society, the Archaeological Society is in a position to assist the State in its work of protecting, improving and studying Greek antiquities. Whenever necessary, it undertakes the management and execution of large projects: this has happened with the excavations in Macedonia and Thrace in recent years and with the large-scale restoration projects in the past. An important part of the Society’s work is its publishing. It brings out three annual titles: Praktika tes Archaiologikes Hetairias (Proceedings of the Archaeological Society), since 1837, containing detailed reports on the excavations and researches carried out in all parts of Greece; Archaiologike Ephemeris (since 1837), containing papers on subjects to do with Greek antiquities, including excavation reports; and Ergon tes Archaiologikes Hetairias (The Work of the Archaeological Society), since 1955, published every May, with brief reports on its excavations. Mentor is a quarterly whose contents consist mainly of short articles on ancient Greece and the history of Greek archaeology, as well as of news on the Society?s activities. All these are edited by the Secretary General. Besides the periodicals, there is the series of books with the general title The Library of the Archaeological Society at Athens: these are monographs on archaeological subjects and reports on excavations, mostly those carried out by the Society.