Kouros found in Kerameikos

By Iota Sykka - Kathimerini

Archaeologists excavating one of the best-known ancient sites of Athens have discovered a 2,600-year-old statue of a rare type and in a good state of preservation. The 2-meter-high kouros statue, depicting a naked youth standing upright with his hands clenched by his sides, was found by German Archaeological Institute archaeologists in the ancient Kerameikos cemetery during work to clean a channel associated with the Eridanus River - which traversed the site in antiquity. Archaeologists working with the Ministry of Culture who have seen the statue described it as a unique find of vast importance as it dates to the Protoarchaic Period and is one of the very few known kouroi of that time. They say it is incredibly beautiful and artistically impressive. The statue was found lying face-down at a shallow depth. Everyone who has seen it says the work preserves most sculptural details to an extraordinary degree. It is the most impressive of all the non-architectural finds unearthed by the German Archaeological Institute, and emerged from a spot where nobody had expected such a surprise. The excavation started a few weeks ago, and yielded a series of finds that were important enough to persuade the Ministry of Culture's Central Archaeological Council to extend the Institute's excavation permit for three more weeks, following a proposal by archaeologist Liana Parlama, director of the ministry's Third Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. The impressive kouros was photographed by a special ministry team before being shut in a case. It is now being guarded in a secure location, ahead of being studied, conserved and then exhibited in a fitting manner. [In November 2000, Culture Ministry archaeologists excavating the site of the ancient town of Thera, on the island of Santorini, discovered a 2.3-meter-high statue of a kore, a dressed young woman, dating to around 640 BC.]