[MGSA-L] Fw: [BSANA] AIEB Efforts re: Thessaloniki Metro [2 Attachments]

Veronica Kalas vkalas at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 23 00:36:42 PDT 2020

See the two attachments for the AIEB efforts regarding the metro in Thessaloniki.
Text of the two letters also pasted here:
Commission for Byzantine Archaeology
Venizelos Metro Station, Thessaloniki
Several members of the Association Internationale des Études Byzantines (AIEB) havealready stated their opposition to the Hellenic Government’s decision to remove the EarlyByzantine finds unearthed during construction works in the Thessaloniki Metro bysigning, as individuals, the Citizens’ Group online petitions calling for the archaeologicalremains to remain in place. However, the Bureau of the AIEB and its Commission forByzantine Archaeology wish to express through this Press Release their deep concernand disappointment regarding the decision issued by the country’s CentralArchaeological Council (19/12/2019), authorising the transfer of the finds to anotherarea.
As professionals and active researchers within the various fields of Byzantine Studies, wewould like to emphasise, as previously stated by Europa Nostra and other non-governmental bodies and professionals, the emergent need to preserve the remains ofthe road-complex and its surrounding structures in situ. The removal from their originalposition will be destructive, while the preservation of this unique and pricelessarchaeological discovery will comprise a constant reminder of the city’s glorious past ina subterranean museum.
Although the discovery has been called a “Byzantine Pompeii” in different occasions, wewould stress that the remains in the city’s Byzantine and modern centre are not just aByzantine version of Roman Pompeii. They constitute much more, not just because oftheir remarkable state of preservation but most importantly because they provide anunparalleled screening of the concept of Byzantine urban space in situ. Thus,archaeological evidence must continue to be accessible, instructive and intact.
We are confident that the Hellenic authorities in charge, namely the Government, theCentral Archaeological Council and Attic Metro SA, will reconsider the consequences oftheir recent decision and will manage, even at this stage, to find the most orthodoxsolution that will be both economically sustainable and will respect the remains and theirreplaceable notion of urban space in the ‘second city’ of a diverse and multi-ethnicByzantine Empire.
Prof.. A. Vionis, chair,
on behalf of the Commission for Byzantine Archaeology

Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis,
Prime Minister, Hellenic Republic
cc. Dr Lina Mendoni, Ministry of Culture, Hellenic Republic
Tuesday April 21st, 2020Dear Sir,
I write in my capacity as President of the International Association of Byzantine Studies (AIEB)and on behalf of all our members with regard to the current plans for construction of the Venizeloustation in Thessaloniki. The AIEB is the representative organization for all scholars of Byzantinehistory, culture and civilization in some 40+ countries worldwide, and it is with deep concern thatwe have been observing the changing plans for the important antiquities and archaeologicalmaterials excavated in the course of preparing the construction of the metro station. After initialconcerns that the antiquities and the priceless scientific information they contain would bedamaged, we were delighted to see the ratification in 2015 of the alternative plans to develop thestation while leaving the antiquities intact. It is, in consequence, with the greatest disappointmentthat we note the 2019 order from you, Prime Minister, to remove and then replace the material.
As specialists in the field of Byzantine Studies we wish to emphasise the high level of damage thatwill result from moving the antiquities, and to note that this is not simply a case of damage to thephysical material itself, but also to the context in which it is located, which is in itself the sourceof a potentially vast amount of crucially important information, derived less by traditional‘archaeological’ methods than by modern scientific processes of collecting and analyzing data.
As our archaeological colleagues note in the letter accompanying this appeal, this is not simply aquestion of the discovery of antiquities in a remarkable state of preservation; they and the context
in which they are found constitute an unparalleled and unique example of Byzantine urban spacein its original setting – a cultural as a well as a scientific jewel. Greece has an outstandingreputation globally for the care and concern it has always invested in its archaeological and culturalheritage. It would be a tragedy to jeopardise this well-earned reputation by squandering thetreasure of the Thessaloniki material and data through an unnecessarily hasty construction project.Given the existence of a viable plan that meets local and national infrastructure needs and that hasmet with approval both nationally and internationally, it must appear peculiarly short-sighted ofany government to ignore it, along with the costs to national and international heritage that thiswould entail.
In line with the position outlined by
With respect, your sincerely,
Prof. John F. Haldon
President, Association Internationale des Études Byzantines
History Department,Dickinson Hall,Princeton University,Princeton NJ 08544USA

Hannah Ewing, BSANA Secretary
Rollins College  __._,_.___ View attachments on the web     Posted by: Hannah Ewing <bsanasec at yahoo.com>     
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