CULTURE

Archaeological exhibition on show at Athens Airport

Some of the most impressive finds revealed during excavations that took place for the construction of Athens International Airport in Spata will be on display in one of the airport’s halls. The exhibits are all archaeological finds dating from the Neolithic and Early Helladic periods to the Post-Byzantine period. If passengers have enough time before catching their flight, they will have the opportunity to see vases, tools, sculptures and inscriptions which came to light during excavations carried out in the region since 1980. Although the exhibits do not include either gold objects or jewelry, since the area was rural, the public will still be able to understand what the region looked like: the surrounding hills, the geometric cemeteries, the roads, the houses, the workshops and temples of the ancient demes of Attica, the impressive rural villas of Roman and Byzantine times, and the Catalan tower. Visitors will see the evolution of the area through the beginning of construction works for the airport. Most of the exhibits are original and there are only a few copies, such as that of the Sphinx from Spata – a striking statue found at the location of the airport in the last century which today is on display at the National Archaeological Museum. The exhibition might even contain information about the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, a small church dating to the early post-Byzantine period, which had to be transferred about 300 meters to the west a few years ago, a move which met with much criticism. However, excavations carried out in its former location revealed, among other things, a farmhouse. The aim of the exhibition is to show the continuity of life in the rural Messogia plains and to demonstrate how the area evolved. The excavations were undertaken by the Second Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the First Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities. Transport Minister Christos Verelis and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos are to open the exhibition today.