the daily lives of the ancient Greeks on display


By Christina Sanoudou

Acropolis Museum to put the daily lives of the ancients on display

Until now, visitors to the Acropolis Museum in Athens could only peer through the glass floors of the Bernard Tschumi-designed structure to get an idea of the ancient neighborhood lying among the building’s foundations.

Soon, however, they will be able to take a closer look at the findings unearthed during the construction of the museum, which opened its doors to the public in the summer of 2009, and learn more about the city’s past from the time of its first inhabitants to around AD 1200.

The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) recently gave the green light for a permanent outdoor exhibition that will see some 1,400 items go on display on the museum’s underground level.

Everyday life

According to KAS officials, the aim of the exhibition will be to cast light on lesser-known eras in the ancient city, such as the Mycenaean and Roman periods. Moreover, it will highlight aspects of daily life in Athens focusing on more humble, everyday items. These may be in a different league than, say, the Parthenon Marbles or the Caryatids, but they were very necessary for people back then. The findings from excavation works at the construction site will be divided into three main groups depending on the period when they were crafted.

The first section, titled “Before the City,” will include 81 items dating to between 3000 and 750 BC, including pottery from the Final Neolithic era, and the content of five graves that reveals evidence on burial customs during the Middle Helladic, Mycenaean and Geometric periods.

The second section, titled “On the City’s Periphery” as the area lay beyond the walls of Archaic Athens, will take visitors from 750 to 480 BC.

Most of the 1,000 items under the third, largest category, titled “Life in the City,” will shed light on everyday life in the ancient neighborhood between the 5th century BC and AD 1200, focusing on aspects such as trade, gender roles, physical well-being, religious practice, lighting and the big disasters that hit the city. Items here will include domestic utensils, coins, busts of renowned citizens and statues of gods.

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photo source: LIVIN’ LOVIN’

Archaic Colors









Commencing Tuesday 31 July 2012 and for the next twelve months, the Acropolis Museum wants to conduct research on its unique collection of archaic statues, which retain their colors to a small or large degree, and to open a very extensive discussion with the public and various experts on color, its technical issues, its detection using new technologies, its experimental use on marble surfaces, its digital reconstruction, its meaning, as well as the archaic period’s aesthetic perception of color. So far, scientific research into the color found on ancient sculpture has made great progress and reached surprising conclusions that to a large degree refute the stereotypical assumptions regarding ancient sculpture. It turns out that color, far from being just a simple decorative element, added to the sculpture’s aesthetic quality.

For ancient Greeks and their society, color constituted a way to characterize various attributes. The blond hair of the gods projected their power; the brown skin of warriors and athletes was a sign of virtue and valor, while the white skin of the korai expressed the grace and radiance of youth.

The Μuseum’s initiative on Archaic Colors is based on very careful observation, on spectroscopic analysis, on special photography sessions, on efforts to reproduce the colors of antiquity and then to apply them on Parian marble, and naturally, on searching through written sources for valuable information on the pigments.
The statues’ crisp, saturated colors, on bright garments and tender bodies, combined with the rich jewelry, frequently made of metal, and elaborately curled hair created a singular aesthetic pleasure, making the archaic statues “wonderful to behold” for the people of the period.

Gallery Talks

Brief presentations which focus on “Archaic Colors” are held by Museum archaeologists – hosts, with rich visual material, both in Greek and English.

For more information click here.

Family Backpack «Archaic Colors»

On the occasion of the initiative on Archaic Colors, the Museum invites families to discover the archaic colors through the following games:

1. The game of discovering details in archaic statues, where color is preserved.
2. A painting box, which contains original mineral colors and pencils for children to color the Peplos Kore.
3. The DOMINO with some of the designs – in a variety of colors freely selected – that decorated mainly the clothing and earrings of the archaic korai.

For more information click here.

Color the Peplos Kore

Visitors also have the opportunity to continue participating in the “Archaic Colors“ initiative from home, through the online digital interactive game “Color the Peplos Kore“.  Visitors can use the brush and colors of their choice, color the statue of Peplos Kore and finally print and save their work as many times as they wish and in several variations