Daily Lives of Ancient Greeks Revealed in Acropolis Museum Huge Archaeological Dig

Athens, The pride and purpose of the

Acropolis Museum has always been the Parthenon gallery. With its

360-degree panoramic view from the top floor, the museum has always

been on a mission: to let the world know that this is the most

appropriate place to exhibit the marbles that once adorned the

Periclean masterpiece.

But a decade after it opened, the four-storey edifice at the foot of

the Acropolis is now focusing on the lives of ancient Greeks. As the

museum prepares to celebrate its 10th birthday on 20 June, it has

announced the opening of a new exhibition space: an entire excavated

neighbourhood of ancient villas, streets, workshops and bathhouses

that lies below the museum building.

As archaeologists put the finishing touches to the site, Dimitrios

Pandermalis, the museum’s director, told how finds once considered a

curse had become a blessing. For the first time we are able to see

how people lived in the shadow of the Acropolis, he enthused, singling

out an ornate ancient courtyard and a chamber where aristocrats had

held symposiums.

And through the display of discoveries such as plates and toys,

visitors will have a glimpse into the daily lives of ancient Greeks. There

are a lot of marble masterpieces on display around the museum but life

is not only about the glory days of yesteryear; it is about little things

that make each and every day.

The building of a Euros 130m museum so close to the Acropolis, and

on a site so rich in archaeology, was not without controversy. The

discovery of ruins dating from the late classical era in the fifth century

BC to the early Byzantine period in the 12th century AD delayed

building work.

But the 13 years of digging paid off. One of the biggest

excavations within the walls of ancient Athens helped archaeologists

learn more than any previous dig had about the birthplace of

democracy. It was complex because there were so many layers, so

many dwellings, one on top of the other, all telling the history of

Athens, said Stamatia Eleftheratou, who headed the excavation work.

The ancient settlement covers 4,000 square metres, accessed

by steel walkways. But Eleftheratou and her team worked over an area

three times that size, discovering close to 50,000 artefacts, including

figurines of little-known deities. There is an entire hidden layer, earlier

ruins beneath the settlement that aren’t visible because we covered

them again with earth, she said.

Pandermalis said some of the treasures will also be on show in

the exhibition space. A Roman-era copy of an original fourth century

BC marble bust of Aristotle is likely to have pride of place when the

artefacts go on display next year.

With its aquiline nose, protruding forehead and minute eyes and

mouth, the bust is considered one of the best likenesses of the Greek

philosopher. He is well-groomed and well dressed, smiled

Pandermalis, saying the piece had been discovered by chance amid

the debris of an archaeological trench, the British Guardian newspaper

reported.

Source: Oman News Agency

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