CULTURE

An active week for London’s Greek calendar

In the Great Hall of King’s College, London, a lecture on the excavation of Kythnos was held last Monday, November 10, when the Greek Archaeological Committee (UK) invited Professor Alexander Mazarakis-Ainian to present his astonishing, once-in-a-lifetime discovery of the unplundered inner sanctum of a temple to an unknown god or goddess on the acropolis of the tiny island of Kythnos. An enthusiastic group of student volunteers from the University of Thessaly unearthed over 1,500 votive offerings. They worked from dawn till midnight to excavate objects made of pottery, bronze, ivory, gold, silver and carnelian, without losing their archaeological context from Minoan to Hellenistic times, in a space of 2×3 meters in one short season so that nothing should be lost. It was an amazing feat. Many slides were shown (taken by the professor’s wife) of these fine objects and also of the happy but exhausted students at work, struggling in the confined space. As Archbishop Grigorios of Thyateira was giving a farewell dinner for Greek Ambassador Alexandros Sandis, some of the Greek community were missing but there was an unusually high attendance of important academics and students from many universities in England. This was the last event chaired by the archaeologist Dr Irene S. Lemos, who is handing back the chair to the founder of the committee, Matti Egon, who celebrated the evening with a most convivial dinner at the historic Simpsons restaurant, founded in 1828 and frequented by Gladstone and Disraeli. On Tuesday, November 11, the ambassador hosted a wonderfully nostalgic presentation of Professor Roderick Beaton’s biography of George Seferis who, as Greek ambassador, complained in his letters and diaries of the trouble he took to restore the very room in which we were standing listening to the musical settings which Theodorakis first played to him and his wife Maro Seferis, on the very same piano lit by the same candelabra. The event was briefly but dramatically interrupted by a burly, leather-jacketed anarchist, who was immediately and with astonishing efficiency ejected by security guards. All this from Helbi’s reliable sources in London.