Jan 10, 2006

Archaeologists Prepare For Excavation On Keros

Left: A Cycladic figurine dating back to about 3000 BCE; photo courtesy of Mendel Art

(Athens, Greece) A team of archaeologists is preparing for one of the most important digs in recent years on the island of Keros in the Cyclades, an chain in Aegean Sea. They are searching for artifacts that will more fully illuminate the history of Cycladic culture, a unique group of Neolithic societies that formed before 4000 BCE.

The marble figurines for which Cycladic culture is best known have been largely looted by fortune-seekers, and there is a thriving market for these rare antiquities. Most of the figurines have been removed from gravesites.

Cycladic settlements tended to be located on coastal sites; the earliest known villages did not possess walls or towers. The rise of a Mediterranean pirates culture likely forced the Cycladites to relocate into the interior of the islands, and later settlements emerged in the hills, fortified with walls and towers.

These small islands supported populations of up to several thousand people, and Cycladic culture thrived until being eclipsed by the Minoan culture of Crete.


Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this culture before.

Hooda Thunkit said...


The figurine pictured features a somewhat flattened face, is this a common portyayal of the human face in their culture?

historymike said...

Yes, it is a unique artistic characteristic of this ancient culture, Hooda.

It's a fascinating civilization that little work has been done on. Perhaps the new digs will spark greater interest.

Stephanie said...

I hope these archeologists put the artifacts into a traveling museum exhibit, as that seems the best way to handle it.

Though, I'm one to cringe at grave-robbing no matter who's doing it.

historymike said...

Yes, Steph - there is something especially odious about grave-robbing, no matter how long the bodies have been buried.