Restos arqueológicos del metro de Tesalónica

Hace unos meses os compartimos en una entrada la petición para salvar los restos arqueológicos bizantinos encontrados en las obras del metro de Tesalónica (que puedes leer haciendo clic en este enlace). Recientemente ha habido nuevas noticias porque su conservación sigue en peligro. La AIEB ha remitido dos cartas al Primer Ministro de la República griega, así como a la ministra de Cultura, expresando su preocupación por los daños que se causarán al yacimiento si se lleva a cabo la propuesta actual de reubicarlo fuera de su contexto de aparición. 
A continuación os dejamos el texto de las dos cartas (una del presidente de la AIEB, John Haldon, y la otra de la comisión permanente de la AIEB de arqueología bizantina) por si las queréis compartir. También incluimos el enlace a los archivos pdf a continuación de cada una.<

To:Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis,
Prime Minister, Hellenic Republic

cc. Dr Lina Mendoni, Ministry of Culture, Hellenic Republic

Tuesday April 21st, 2020 Dear 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 Venizelou station in Thessaloniki. The AIEB is the representative organization for all scholars of Byzantine history, culture and civilization in some 40+ countries worldwide, and it is with deep concern that we have been observing the changing plans for the important antiquities and archaeological materials excavated in the course of preparing the construction of the metro station. After initial concerns that the antiquities and the priceless scientific information they contain would be damaged, we were delighted to see the ratification in 2015 of the alternative plans to develop the station while leaving the antiquities intact. It is, in consequence, with the greatest disappointment that 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 that will result from moving the antiquities, and to note that this is not simply a case of damage to the physical material itself, but also to the context in which it is located, which is in itself the source of 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 a question 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 space in its original setting – a cultural as a well as a scientific jewel. Greece has an outstanding reputation globally for the care and concern it has always invested in its archaeological and cultural heritage. It would be a tragedy to jeopardise this well-earned reputation by squandering the treasure 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 has met with approval both nationally and internationally, it must appear peculiarly short-sighted of any government to ignore it, along with the costs to national and international heritage that this would 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 08544 USA

Commission for Byzantine Archaeology

Venizelos Metro Station, Thessaloniki

Several members of the Association Internationale des Études Byzantines (AIEB) have already stated their opposition to the Hellenic Government’s decision to remove the Early Byzantine finds unearthed during construction works in the Thessaloniki Metro by signing, as individuals, the Citizens’ Group online petitions calling for the archaeological remains to remain in place. However, the Bureau of the AIEB and its Commission for Byzantine Archaeology wish to express through this Press Release their deep concern and disappointment regarding the decision issued by the country’s Central Archaeological Council (19/12/2019), authorising the transfer of the finds to another area.

As professionals and active researchers within the various fields of Byzantine Studies, we would like to emphasise, as previously stated by Europa Nostra and other non- governmental bodies and professionals, the emergent need to preserve the remains of the road-complex and its surrounding structures in situ. The removal from their original position will be destructive, while the preservation of this unique and priceless archaeological discovery will comprise a constant reminder of the city’s glorious past in a subterranean museum.
Although the discovery has been called a “Byzantine Pompeii” in different occasions, we would stress that the remains in the city’s Byzantine and modern centre are not just a Byzantine version of Roman Pompeii. They constitute much more, not just because of their remarkable state of preservation but most importantly because they provide an unparalleled 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, the Central Archaeological Council and Attic Metro SA, will reconsider the consequences of their recent decision and will manage, even at this stage, to find the most orthodox solution that will be both economically sustainable and will respect the remains and the irreplaceable notion of urban space in the ‘second city’ of a diverse and multi-ethnic Byzantine Empire.

Prof.. A. Vionis, chair,
on behalf of the Commission for Byzantine Archaeology

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