Looking back on a successful summer programme at Knossos
Summer 2023 was rather busy for the Knossos Research Centre. Many cultural events were held alongside the research programmes at the Knossos Stratigraphical Museum (limited in number, of course, due to the preparations for the renovation of the Knossos Stratigraphical Museum). These events are part of the BSA’s systematic efforts to make academic knowledge and important artistic activities accessible to the general public.
There were two Knossos Research Centre Summer Lectures: one by Dr Stella Mandalaki (Heraklion Archaeological Museum) on dance rituals in Bronze Age Crete, and the other by Mrs Evi Saliaka on board games of strategy and skill of the Venetian guard of Spinalonga.
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the four-day cultural festival EARTH WATER FIRE: Celebrating Cretan Pottery from Antiquity to the Present. Thrapsano 6th-10th July returned. Events included lectures on Cretan pottery with particular emphasis on the importance of the Thrapsano ceramic tradition as a living heritage, workshops for adults and children to introduce them to the potter’s art, and music evenings with Cretan artists. Participants also visited the archaeological site of Knossos (guided by the Knossos Curator) and the site of Lyktos (guided by the excavators Vasso Sythiakaki, Angelos Chaniotis and Antonis Kotsonas). The impressive attendance demonstrated once again the importance of preserving the cultural art of Crete, a precious living heritage with a rich past and a wealth of future prospects.
Another cultural event on 5 August was dedicated to the Villa Ariadne, the legendary mansion of Sir Arthur Evans, and its people (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYopEzz1lCw). The event included four lectures, on Sir Arthur Evans and the Villa Ariadne (Knossos Curator), the historic garden of the Villa (Flavio Zanon, Ephorate of Antiquities of Heraklion), Madam Dilys Powell at Knossos (Artemis Klitsi), and how the inhabitants of Knossos viewed the Villa Ariadne and the British archaeologists (Mara Panagiotaki). The lectures were followed by a concert of Greek traditional music (ANEMI singing group).
On 28 August we journeyed to the magical world of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities thanks to the audio installation directed by Magda Corpi. With the musical composition of Sofia Kamayianni and the voices of Nikos Kouris, Lilly Meleme, Maria Skoula, Harry Charalambous-Kazepis and Giannis Haroulis, those present were called upon to descend into the hinterland of between, tracing the invisible world that lights the path for the experience of the visible. The sensorial experience of those participating in the event is difficult to describe in words.
We went on a journey of image and speech through the land of Crete with French photographer and poet Mr Nyima Marin, during the presentation of his art book L’Adieu du Minotaure on 8 September. The event also included a lecture by the Curator on the Cretan Labyrinth: the reality behind the myth.
The summer events came to a close on 17 September with an ethnoarchaeological project at which potters from Thrapsano set up a pithos-making workshop in the Knossos village square and introduced participants to the craft of making storage vessels. The event was accompanied by lectures by the Curator and Dr Samantha Ximeri.
These events were variously organised in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Region of Crete, the Knossos Cultural Association, the Thrapsano Cultural Association and the Photoxenia Cultural Association.
Photos from EARTH WATER FIRE (above) and Invisible Cities (below).