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The Athens Ancient Agora Travels on the Net

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Users of the Internet and specifically Google Earth have the chance to view a 3D representation the ancient Athens Agora, from anywhere in the world at 3d.athens-agora.gr Through Google Earth, the visitor may ‘wander around’ the footpaths and between the buildings of the Agora as it was during the ancient, Roman and Hellenistic periods.   The programme – designed and developed by the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW) – won first prize at the international Collada Contest.

It was an offspring of the project “Virtual Reality Digital Collection ‘Ancient Agora of Athens,” which aimed at the development and documentation of an original digital collection on the Ancient Agora of Athens that would be used for the development of creative educational scenarios in virtual reality environments.  Archaeologists, architects and researchers collaborated with 3D graphics designers, Virtual Reality programmers, scriptwriters, musicians, Internet graphic designers and programmers and scientists in order to complete this important work of digitization of immaterial culture of the past.

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Romans Return to Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  An international archaeological conference, titled “Classical Tradition and Innovative Elements in the Sculpture of Roman Greece,” opens its doors today (May 7) at the Teloglion Foundation of Art in Thessaloniki. The conference is organized by the Department of History and Archaeology of Aristotle University, aiming to examine the extent of Roman influence on Greek art during the Roman occupation of Greece.  Greek and foreign scientists and archaeologists will elaborate on the issue – through the study of several sculptures and monuments. The conference runs until May 9. (Photo: The Palatial Complex of Galerius in Thessaloniki – Greek News Agenda: Monument Conservation Award)

Decoding the Heavens by the Antikythera mechanism

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    antikythera-mechanismJo Marchant, Decoding The Heavens, William Heinemann 2008. Humanity’s need for purpose seems universal.  Regardless of our belief system, perhaps the beginning of winter is the best time to contemplate meaning and purpose.  How affirming and humbling to realize we are still so similar to others from the past.  The Antikythera mechanism (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr), calculated the motions of the sun, moon and planets and predicted eclipses using intricate gear mechanisms created over 2000 years ago.  Now scientists are reconstructing the device and finding that ancient Greek technology was far more advanced than previously thought.  “Historians have often scoffed at the Greeks for wasting their technology on toys rather than doing anything useful with it. If they had the steam engine, why not use it to do work?” But these devices may have been “a way to get closer to the true meaning of things. To what better use could technology be put?” The size of a shoebox, the Antikythera mechanism – a mysterious bronze device scooped out of a Roman-era shipwreck at the dawn of the 20th century, off the island of Antikythera (www.antikythira.gr), has baffled scientists for years and proved to be a  calculator used by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. New Scientist (12.12.2008): Archimedes and the 2000-year-old computer; Ancient computer recreated; Nature science journal (31.7.2008): Streaming video: Antikythera

Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day

New book: Philip Matyszak, a British non-fiction writer, with a doctorate in Roman history from St John’s College, Oxford has published an entertaining guidebook entitled “Athens on 5 drachmas a day”. The book takes us on a travel back in time, to 431 BC Athens, giving the reader a vibrant sense of what everyday life must have been like in the ancient city during the pinnacle of its glory.
Read more:
 Armchair Traveler (The New York Times, 28.09.2008)
 Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day by Philip Matyszak: Review (Telegraph, 17.10.2008)
 Greek mystique (Guardian, 18.10.2008)

Greece: An Ancient Calculator

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The size of a shoebox, a mysterious bronze device scooped out of a Roman-era shipwreck at the dawn of the 20th century, off the island of Antikythera (www.antikythira.gr), has baffled scientists for years and proved to be a  a calculator used by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. Researchers yesterday announced that the Antikythera Mechanism (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr), as it is now known, could predict eclipses decades in advance and was also used to record the four-yearly cycle of the original Olympic Games.  World Media Reports – Google: Scientists unlock new secrets of Antikythera mechanism; Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Highlights

Retrieved Artefacts @ New Acropolis Museum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Some 75 artefacts, including the magnificent 6th-century vessel known as the Euphronios crater, will be presented at an exhibition which will be inaugurated at the New Acropolis Museum (www.newacropolismuseum.gr) in September. The artefacts present a special interest because they constitute artefacts of Greek and Roman origin that were found on Italian soil, and were subsequently illicitly exported abroad. Eventually, American museums (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles) returned the artefacts to Italy and were later displayed in Rome as part of the “Nostoi: Capolavori ritrovati” (Greek for ‘Homecomings’: Italian for recovered masterpieces) in the beginning of 2008. The same exhibition – the retrieved artefacts – will be hosted by the New Acropolis Museum. The opening is scheduled for September 23 and the exhibition will run until the end of 2008. Together with the artefacts offered by Italy, the exhibition will also comprise artefacts displayed in foreign museums and private collections which have recently returned to Greece permanently. The New York Times – Arts: Nostoi: Recovered Masterpieces

Archaeological Treasures Revealed in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     Excavations at the “Egnatia Odos SA” construction site near the city of Kavala have brought to light impressive archaeological finds dating from the years of the Roman Empire. Two human and 16 horse skeletons were revealed during the works. Experts believe that the finds are part of a Roman cemetery for wealthy inhabitants, since the act of burial of humans close to their horse was frequent among the prosperous. Other significant finds include four bronze coins dating from the 4th century A.D. as well as two-wheel vehicles (probably used in battle or for hunting) that bears relief representations of Hercules’ exploits.