The other drama of the Greek crisis.The monuments have no voice

I’ve allowed myself to publish this long article from the NYT on other serious side effects of the Greek that are being overlooked.

The front page of yesterday’s New York Times echoes the warning calls from the Association of Greek Archaeologists in recent months to defend Greece’s cultural heritage and whose latest manifestation is this posting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wly0GUZ_QZQ

Its message, clear and direct, reads, “Monuments have no voice. They must have yours,” regarding the effects of the cuts and the irreparable damage being done:

“In Messenia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, excavation work has come to a halt on a fifth- or sixth-century B.C. mountaintop temple discovered in 2010 not far from the well-known Temple of Apollo Epicurius, a Unesco World Heritage site. Xeni Arapogianni, the state archaeologist who oversaw the region and directed the initial excavation of the newly discovered temple, was forced into early retirement last fall before she could complete research for publications about the find”.

“On the island of Kythira, Mr. Tsaravopoulos recently visited a plot of sparsely wooded field, acting on a tip from a friend that a bulldozer had been at work there without a permit or antiquities inspection. He arrived to find a makeshift dirt road freshly carved into a hillside, scattered with dozens of broken pieces of glazed pottery dating to Hellenic and early Roman times”.

And it sends a reminder of the service that archaeologists have lent Greek society for years, something that has earned them an honourable reputation and which has remained intact to the present day:

“Despite its relatively low pay, the profession of archaeology has long been held in high esteem in Greece; it is a job that children aspire to, like becoming a doctor. And in a country where the public sector has been plagued for decades with corruption, archaeologists have retained a reputation as generally honorable and hard-working.

They used to say that we were a special race,” said Alexandra Christopoulou, the deputy director of the National Archaeological Museum. “We worked overtime without getting paid for it — a rarity in Greece — because we really loved what we did”.

To read the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/arts/design/archaeologists-say-greek-antiquities-threatened-by-austerity.html

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