Bronze Age study lab planned on Greek island

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Greek Temple of Dimitras - Naxos Cyclades Islands, Greece. Credit line: Profimedia

Greece’s culture ministry on Thursday said it was creating a centre for the study of Cycladic antiquities on the island of Naxos in collaboration with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The centre for the research and study of the Bronze-Era Cycladic culture is to be delivered in 2026, the ministry said in a statement.

It will be equipped with the latest technology to analyse the composition of ancient objects, in order to determine authenticity and provenance, it said.

A global database of Cycladic art in Greece and foreign museums and collections will also be compiled, the ministry said.

The move came after a landmark 50-year agreement with the Met — ratified in September — for the display and gradual return to Greece of 161 antiquities formerly in the collection of US billionaire philanthropist Leonard Stern.

Fifteen artefacts from the Stern collection — which Greek archaeologists say were likely illegally exported from Greece — went on temporary display on Thursday at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.

The full Stern collection will return to Greece by 2048.

The Cycladic culture flourished in the Aegean islands in the 3rd millennium BC.

The best-known art samples of the era are marble figurines, mainly nude female figures with arms folded above the abdomen.

At the time, Naxos was a key source of marble for the figurines.

The figurines’ purpose is not conclusively established, though as most were found in graves, many scholars associate them with funerary rituals. ©AFP

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