Monday, May 21, 2007

Acropolis New Museum

Archeological Site of Makrigianni

Very important findings for the history of Athens were recently found in the construction area of the New Museum of the Acropolis. This development has led the Hellenic Section of ICOMOS to decide to ask for alternative sites for the construction of the museum. The selection of another site is imperative not only because of city planning reasons but, mainly, because of the need to protect the Acropolis -a monument of world heritage- and the archaeological findings that are endangered because of the programmed New Museum (multi-function building).


...Furthermore, I would like to recall that according to the Operational Guidelines
of the World Heritage Convention, para 56:
"The World Heritage Committee invites the States Parties to the Convention Concerning
the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage to inform the Committee,
through the UNESCO Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area
protected under the Convention major restorations or new constructions which may affect
the World Heritage value of the property. Notice should be given as soon as possible
(for instance, before drafting basic documents for specific projects) and before making
any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, so that the Committee may assist
in seeking appropriate solutions to ensure that the world heritage value of the site
is fully preserved."
" Document: WHC -03/27.COM/7B

The world Heritage Committee,

1. Regrets that the Greek authorities did not provide the report requested
by 1 February 2003 until 2 July 2003;
2. Recalls its request (26 COM 21 (b) 49) that the State Party give
urgent consideration to a redefinition of the buffer zone in order
to better protect the visual setting of the monument;
3. Further recalls its request (26 COM 21 (b) 49) that the State Party
provide information on any development projects, which may impact upon
the visual integrity of the World Heritage site and undertake a visual
impact study, notably concerning the site of the Acropolis;
4. Urges the State Party to prevent any irreversible damage;
5. Requests the State Party to submit a report by 1 February 2004
for review by the Committee at its 28th Session (June/July 2004). "

Archaeological Site Makrigianni (100m far from Akropolis Athens)

The long use of Athens during the centuries is a very important element of culture for the promotion of the historical consciousness

1. According to the well known tactic that is implemented during the last years since the planning for the major public works for infrastructure in Greece, because the archaeological service don't have any available resources for the confrontation of the high costs related to excavations of extensive areas, there is the aspiration for the financial cover of the expenses in case of excavation, maintenance and publication of the antiquities on behalf of the contractor of the public works. In all big public works for transports and for the infrastructure of the Olympic Games that are today in progress was requested the financial cover in case of the revelation of antiquities and the excavation method of salvation. During this method while the financial burdain is transferred to the contractor, the scientific part of the excavation operation lies exclusively on the archaeological service. During the above the contractor except of the obligation for the availability of resources for the rhythmical coordination of the work the desicion for the performance of the excavation and the possible preservation or not of the antiquities in place is upon to the archaeological service. From the above even if is presumed that OANMA (Organization for the Construction of the new Museum of acropolis) is responsible for the funding of the research and for the practical details of the business relations, is not possible to coordinate excavation works and not of course to decide for the preservation or not of the antiquities, or in this particular case -in which the worst of all happens- to decide for entire monumental complexes. So the low responsibility for the legal or not perform of the works - or for the legal or not destruction of antiquities- is a responsibility of the A EPKA (1st ephorate for the inspection of antiquities) The interference of OANMA in issues of excavation and mainly in the destruction of antiquities is illegal.

2. After the found of a very important, organized archaeological complex in the area of Makrigianni which was the result of the reactivation of exchavations from 1997 and on, the authorities had the obligation to turn to the immediate solution of the systematically definition of space to obtain a suitable area for the construction of the new museum. In the 15th meeting of the KAS (Cental Archaological Counsil) in 09.05.2000 arise the ascertainment the archaeological site has a unique importance for the history of Athens through the centuries (e.a s3,4 Konstantios) and some of the buildings of the complex have unique characterization. (e.s 2 Mpouras) In the false and scientifically inexpert solution of the immediate dissolution of the newer phases the A EPKA has consented after an instigation about that issue (A EPKA AR.PR. 4567/16.9.1997) and Central Archaeological Council decided to proceed with the illegal decision for the dissolution not only of the archaeological remnants of the Byzantine and Post Byzantine period but indiscreetly to any remnants of the same period "wherever" they appear inside the exchavations area. While the Greek constitution instructs the salvation of the culture inheritage from a special team of the Ministry of Culture, the Central Archaeological Council decided the non reversible dissolution of the antiquities in the area of Makrigianni and of whatever antiquities also there might being discovered later, without distinction and without evaluation.

3. The operation for the dissolution of the antiquities for the construction of the new museum of acropolis needed the systematically, full and assiduous exploration of the area. It's now even imaginable the begin of excavation works for the foundation because at that time was not even the architecture plans for the new museum yet known (position, accuracy, dimensions etc.) but not even the final shape or the width of the foundation. A permition for excavation was given from the authorities without following the previous procedure and that makes the permition given by the Central Archaeological Council illegal.

4. The area around acropolis is an archaeological area of highest archaeological importance, since it constitutes a zone of worldwide cultural importance. The excuse that we cannon speak for the automatic protection of the archaeological area of Makrigianni because "Not even the acropolis is declared protected area" is an outrageous claim and dangerous for the preservation of out cultural inheritage. Ancient monuments like Acropolis, Parthenon, the temple of Afaea in Aegina, the Temple of Figalia in Arcadia, will have been destroyed by now if they were needing the confirmation of the authorities to be preserved. In all the other countries the important monuments like the Colloseum they don't need the protection of the law for the preservation of their integrity. In opposite case, if in Greece was enforced for the above monuments the archaeological declaration as protected area, the archaeological law will have been weakened in a dangerous point and as a result the rest of the antiquities and monuments especially those with secondary importance would have been under the danger to be totally destroyed.

5. In the yellow zone of the excavation in the area of Makrigianni below the sequence of layers from Post Roman and Byzantine antiquities there are traces of a non excavated layer of an older period which is indicated from a floor and surrounded walls, extended in a lower level at the South West of the archaeological area. Because the procedure for the foundation of the building of the new museum with pole support is applied only after exhaustive excavation until the rock, in the particular case there is danger of destroying antiquities because this procedure is "blind" and the drill will enter into non excavated layers.

6. The sequence of layers of Post Roman and Byzantine period that have been destroyed completely in the south edge of the archaeological area in a zone of length 60m and width 15m were not only ancient layers of ground but sequence phases buildings with important archaeological foundlings and architectural remnants that represent an important archaeological complex. The rushed destruction of the buildings even with the permition of the KAS (Central Archaeological Council) was definitely illegal because was made in a rush and without the evaluation of their importance, the understanding of their relation compared with the founding's of the red zone and the publication of the discovered founding's as it's defined by the archaeological law.

7. Organized archaeological areas with sequence phases of buildings and monumental architectural monuments like in the archaeological area of Makrigianni (included the important architectural findings that have been recently destroyed in the yellow zone) need special care and protection. Generally in the archaeological science the importance of the archaeological are in defined by the preservation of sequence phases of buildings that are showing the continuous usage of the area in the centuries. According to the exchavations in the area of Makrigianni during the opening of the metro tunel and recently from the exchavations of A EPKA, the area was an important section of ancient Athens with continuous usage from the prehistoric ages until the 19th century. The scientific importance of the area is based on the discover of well preserved architectural remnants of the Post Roman and Byzantine period for which in older exchavations in athens there were not found satisfied information. Except the sequence of architectural phases particular importance has also the unique shape and the importance of the buildings that have be discovered. (as it's stated from the members of KAS (Central Archaeological Council) at their meeting (47 27/11/2000) The above architectural phases constitute an unquestionable exchibit of the long historical usage of Athens. They constitute the proof of the historical identity and the specific difference of Athens from capitals of other European countries.

The long usage of Athens during the centuries it's a very importance cultural element for the promotion of the historical consciousness and for that reason is an exhibit of outstanding importance that needs absolute preservation and protection. The destruction and the insult of symbols like the marathon an in particular case the are of Makrigianni they not only insulting the character and the physical environment of the monument but they are also mainly turned against history and civilization.


The construction of the new museum of acropolis, in a place filled with ancient buildings is an intentional destruction.

Everyone that participates in the procedures for the success of this purpose (the construction of the museum) if they are archaeologists they prooving that they don't possess the moral, that it is needed, for the refinements and teaching of archaeology. Whoever is not an archaeologist, only the lack of education can justify them. The new museum of acropolis is a dream of generations. It's contruction will have disappear the ugliness that exist on the rock of acropolis which in years ago we could see it from Faliro. When it was a dream, becomes a nightmare because for it's contruction in a dense populated area must be destroyed an extensive ancient architectural complex, well preserved and not publicated. What ever is said about it is based on speculations. One thing is certain, the antiquities that they will be destroyed they constitute a source for an almost unknown period of the history of athens. Scientificaly this action cannot be interpreted. Someone could to blame it to expediency. The destruction that will happen, constitutes consequent policy after the destruction of marathon, that removed from the area the moral importance that had and replaced it with the importance of profit, amusement and recreation. Here in this area they will construct a trade centre for ancient ideas. The teachers of the modern archaeologists, with the artificial manufactured authority, if they were still alive they will have turned away their glance from their students.

B.Petrakos,Member of the Academy of Athens, General Secretary of the Archaeological Company

G.Dontas,Honorary Inspector of Antiquities, President of the Archaeological Company

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