Ancient Nikouria decree, missing for almost a century, rediscovered on Amorgos

Ancient Nikouria decree, missing for almost a century, rediscovered on Amorgos

An ancient stone tablet bearing a historic inscription of the Nikouria decree, dating back to the 3rd century BC, has resurfaced on the island of Amorgos after it had gone missing for roughly a century, the culture ministry announced on Friday.

The stele was found by a final-year archaeology student from Amorgos, Stelios Perakis, and German archaeologist N. N. Fischer with the help of local residents.

It was embedded in the outer wall of a recently renovated house  in the village Tholaria, Amorgos that had previously belonged to a shepherd from Nikouria.

According to a ministry announcement, the inscription on the stele contained key information on the history of the Aegean and was first discovered in 1893 in the Panagia Church on the islet of Nikouria, opposite Aigiali on Amorgos.

It had been temporarily transferred to a nearby stable where it remained until 1908 but then disappeared from view and its fate was entirely unknown.

The decree contains a decision of the League (Koinon) of the Islanders', a political union set up by the Ptolemies, to participate with official representatives in the feast and games organised by Ptolemy II in Alexandria in the memory of his father Ptolemy I, the ministry said.

The specific stele is considered important since it provides evidence concerning the balance of power during the first half of the 3rd century BC and the transition of control from the Macedonians to the Ptolemies.

Dozens of researchers had tried and failed to track down the Nikouria decree over the years.

The Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate said it will remove and transfer the stele to the Amorgos archaeological collection.


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