Anyone travelling to Crete this year, should not miss the opportunity to find themselves immersed in the history of Crete. This month marks the opening of the long-awaited Archaeology Museum of Eleutherna, one of the four museums directly linked to archaeological sites – the other being the museums of Vergina, Delphi and Olympia. Given that the area where excavations are conducted is enclosed within the Eleutherna archaeological park’s boundaries, one can imagine a holistic approach: history and protected natural beauty leading to the discovery of the past.
“The museum narrates 4500 years of history (from 3000 BC to 1300 AD), in a fascinating journey in time, through objects of everyday life and works of art, from the prehistoric times to the Byzantine era. But the most important are the findings from the period in history most associated with the dawn of the Greek civilisation and the Homer years. The excavations revealed streets and houses, aqueducts and bathhouses, temples and public buildings and more importantly, the ancient ‘necropolis’, the graveyard of the warriors and their relatives. The rooms dedicated to the findings of this ‘necropolis’ feature one of the first ‘unknown soldier’ monuments, as well as findings highlighted by Homeric passages, narrating the ritual of the cremation of the dead,” Professor Nikos Stabolidis told Neos Kosmos.
“Spread across 2,000 square meters, the museum’s space is divided into display, storage and laboratory areas. In the southern ward is situated a research and study centre, featuring libraries, offices and a vast archive of the excavation. It is the place where all the research is conducted by an army of Greek and foreign scientists from all disciples.”
The museum, after all is a hub for philhellene academics and scholars from around the globe – archaeologists, anthropologists, palaeobotanists, architects etc, from all over the world have gone there, not only to dig, but to study the surroundings. “These are our true Greek Archaeology ambassadors”, says professor Stampolidis, from the Archaeology Department of the University of Crete and director of the Cycladic Art Museum in Athens. “During the excavations, I had the amazing opportunity to work with Australian and Greek Australian students,” he adds.
“We don’t want to create a depository museum, rather than a modern and vivid space, this is why the museum features an auditorium, a projection room, and spaces suitable for small conferences or exhibitions.
“To offer the world everything that the Greek culture comprises from, something more than history and aesthetics, a space that describes the relation of humans and the nature that surrounds them. For as many virtual travels as one can make through the internet, nothing can compete to the real sensation and the real image of the space. Nothing is complete without the sunlight and the way each season smells.”