The modern management of moveable monuments

  • Stories of antiquities theft

    Moveable monuments, which are the result of antiquities theft, present the most problems in terms of their management, as they have been torn from their environment, often in a destructive manner. An example of antiquities theft is the so-called church of Palaiopanagia, which is of the cross-shaped type, and is an important monument, located in the area of Steni in Euboea. Although it has undergone more recent interventions that have damaged its external and internal form, noteworthy murals from the 16th century have been preserved inside. During the 1970s a series of interventions was carried out on the church, during which antiquities smugglers tore out seven whole sections of the murals, with the figures of saints from the lower bands of the painted decoration.

    During the autopsy carried out by archaeologists of the Archaeological Service, fragments of three of the murals were collected from the floor of the church and taken to be glued together, preserved and repaired in the preservation workshop of the Byzantine and Christian Museum. After a period of nearly thirty years (2009), the other four murals (with the figures of the Agoi Nikitas, Ermolaos, Makarios and Nestoros) together with other antiquities, were found in a warehouse in Basle in Switzerland. Once they were identified, the necessary action was taken by the competent services of the Ministry of Culture for them to be returned. On their return, the murals were preserved in the workshops of the Byzantine and Christian Museum, and placed with a new organisation, in order for them to be exhibited later in the new Diachronic Museum of Chalkis in Arethousa.

  • Preservation of moveable finds from excavations

    The moveable finds that are taken from the ground during excavations are often in need of immediate protection and preservation by specialist preservers of antiquities, as well as safeguarding in preservation workshops and specially designed warehouses. They are then carefully identified, arranged and classified in accordance with specific rules. However, religious objects, such as icons, sacred vessels and vestments from churches and monasteries also need protection and preservation.

  • From the ground to the museum. The permanent exhibition of mobile monuments

    Moveable monuments are not intended to remain in warehouses. The idea is, once they have been studied, to put them on public display. The knowledge gained by the experts should become public knowledge and experience. One way of making use of the wealth of monuments is to display it in specially designed exhibition spaces. However, the best way to display, interpret and use it for the public is to exhibit the moveable remains in museums and create exhibitions, in line with the principles of modern museology.

  • Moveable monuments in temporary exhibitions

    Monuments are world heritage and are protected by international agreements, as material remains of the past and of the cultural particularities of each population. As part of the cooperation between museums, galleries and organisations connected with culture, moveable monuments 'travel' to be included in temporary exhibitions, which are organised by large museums abroad, so that the people in other countries, other cultures, may learn about elements of Greek culture, admire it, learn from it and even be inspired by it.

  • Declarations of archaeological sites

    For the more effective protection of monuments and archaeological sites from the increasing and often unlicensed and unchecked modern building, protected zones are created. The provisions for the delineation of archaeological sites, protection zones, and settlements within archaeological sites are found in Articles 12-15 of the Archaeological Law. In Article 1, it specifically states that, Archaeological sites are declared and delineated or re-delineated based on the data from archaeological fieldwork and by decision of the Ministry of Culture'. The law provides for the establishment of zones of protection, which are classified as A (prohibition of building) and B (building and use under special regulations).