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Figurines of Neolithic Thessaly - Volume Ι



The present Corpus is the first of a series of volumes including figurines from Neolithic Thessaly.

In 1986 the Academy of Athens entrusted me with the Project of studying Greek Neolithic art. The challenge was great: for the first time the art of Neolithic Greece would be given the attention it deserved, by being studied as a whole instead of forming part of the publications of individual excavations or given a brief mention in books on the Prehistory of Greece in general, which in fact deal mainly with the Bronze Age.

A first result of the Neolithic Project at the Academy of Athens Research Centre for Antiquity was the creation of a large bibliographical and photographic archive of figurines from Greece, continuously updated with recent finds, as well as some publications for evaluation and comparison of this material.

It was well known that a large number of Neolithic surface finds from Thessaly, mainly figurines (some more than 2,500 items to date) were in important private collections. In 1987 Professor Kostas Gallis, Ephor then of the XV Ephorate of Antiquities, Larisa, entrusted me with the study of these figurines in view of their publication as a Corpus. He himself, because of his expert knowledge of the topography of Neolithic Thessaly, undertook the task of investigating the exact provenance of the figurines, in collaboration with the collectors and of preparing the appropriate maps of the various find spots. We were both well aware of the significant contribution such a Corpus would make to the promotion of Neolithic art and to the work accomplished so far in systematic excavations in view of further research. We also knew how important the compiling of a Corpus of an archaeological material spread among different collections in various places was for its safety.

The Academy of Athens, showing great sensitivity to our proposal, has kindly sponsored the publication of the Corpus. These circumstances made possible the composition of this volume, which presents 362 Neolithic figurines from Eastern and Western Thessally, the cradle of Neolithic civilization in Greece on account of its geographical location, natural environment and resources.

The majority of these figurines were formerly in the collections of Dr Dinos Chouliaras, Mr Manolis Karamanolis, Mr Kostas Theodoropoulos and Mr Takis Tloupas. Since 1992 they have been located in the Larissa Ephorate of Antiquities and will be exhibited, together with other figurines, in the new Larissa Archaeological Museum when it is built.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Academy not only for creating the appropriate circumstances which facilitated me in the writing of this Corpus, but also for financing the recording of the material and its final publication.

I am particularly indebted to Professor Spyridon Iakovidis for advising me to enlarge considerably my original plan, as well as for reading my manuscript and making extremely useful comments on the entire work, up to its publication. His consistent moral and practical support during my entire research work at the Research Centre for Antiquity of the Academy of Athens and his helpful suggestions on various problems has been invaluable.

I am deeply grateful too to the Ephor of Antiquities Professor Kostas Gallis, who helped me throughout my efforts, either by bringing me into contact with the collectors and avoiding delays due to bureaucracy of the Ministry of Culture, or by making useful observations concerning the quality of the publication.

Special thanks are also due to the collectors Dr D. Chouliaras, Mr E. Karamanolis, Mr K. Theodoropoulos and Mr T. Tloupas, for making their collections available for publication, as well as for the friendly environment they created for me during my stay in Larissa and their kind help in facilitating my task of photographing, classifying and studying the material in their homes, often at the expense of their privacy.

I thank all the members of the Larissa Ephorate of Antiquities for their active cooperation in those aspects of my research conducted in its premises.

Last but not least, I wish to thank Mrs A. Doumas for her help and great skill in revising the English text.

Preface | Introduction | Images