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Figurines of Neolithic Thessaly - Volume ΙΙ



The present Corpus is the second volume of a series including figurines from Neolithic Thessaly belonging to private collections, part of which have been recently transferred to the new Archaeological Museum of Larissa.

In 1986 the Academy of Athens entrusted me with the Project of studying Greek Neolithic art. The challenge was great since 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. A further result was a very rich and important bibliographical and photographic database, not only on the Neolithic figurine art of Greece but on that of other geographical areas as well.

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 collections of Kostas Theodoropoulos, Takis Tloupas, Dinos Chouliaras and Manolis Karamanolis, which were especially rich, have been offered by them to the Larisa Archaeological Ephorate of Antiquities, in view of their contribution to our knowledge of the Neolithic civilization of Thessaly. These collections, along with other smaller ones, were transported there since 1992 and the majority of figurines included will be exhibited in the new local Archaeological Museum upon its erection.

The Academy of Athens, showing great sensitivity to our proposal, has kindly offered, in 1996, to sponsor the publication of the Corpus. These circumstances made possible the publication of the two first volumes on Figurines of Neolithic Thessaly including respectively 362 and 407 figurines from Eastern and Western Thessaly. Furthermore it sponsored my monograph Introduction to Neolithic Figurine Art: South Eastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean (Athens 1998), which is a key to the study as well as an attempt to consider Neolithic plastic art from a more general point of view, starting from examples from specific areas but with application to figurine materials from any cultural group.

The initiative of the XV Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Studies of Larisa was followed by the XIII Ephorate of Volos. Indeed, when another collector, ¬Mr A. Bastis, offered figurines and other items of his personal collection to the Volos Museum, the Ephor then Dr V. Adrymi, entrusted me, in 1999, with the study and the subsequent publication of the Corpus of these figurines, given my specialization on the subject.

Preface | Introduction | Images