CULTURE

Heracles cult lecture in London

Professor Vassilis Aravantinos, Ephor of Antiquities for Viotia and Larymna since 1993, is to give an extremely interesting lecture at King’s College in London for the Greek Archaeological Committee (UK) on Monday, November 13. Aravantinos, who is also director of the Thebes Archaeological Museum, has directed major excavations in the region and published extensively on his findings. Two years ago a publication on important findings in a vacant lot in Thebes, near the area of the Elektra Gates, connected to the worship of Heracles, attracted international interest. As Kathimerini reported this week, this led the Culture Ministry to plan an archaeological site in the center of the town. The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) issued a ruling setting aside the vacant and adjoining lot for the purpose of highlighting the artifacts. It is a great honor for the Greek Archaeological Committee (UK), whose chairperson is Matti Egon, to have this distinguished archaeologist give the address on the findings that date from the 8th century BC. This will be the first time that the professor has presented his findings in Britain. The artifacts include parts of decorated tiles, inscriptions (one of them referring to Apollo Ismenios) and also a number of rich votives (pottery and other dedications). Excavations to the west of this area revealed further evidence of a cult, including bases of small altars, fragments of Daedalic-style statues and a large number of vases, as well as remains of sacrifices. Based on the discovery of these rich finds, Aravantinos argues that the cult in this area is related to the hero Heracles and his family, the Heracleides. The committee, founded in 1986 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Greek Archaeological Society, was led by Matti Egon from 1986 to 1993. Julie Kallios and Irene Lemou each had stints at the helm before Egon took the reins again in 2004. Apart from its lecture series, the committee grants scholarships for postgraduate studies in Britain in Greek archaeology, provided by Matti Egon, the Greek Archaeological Committee, the Leventis Foundation and Nikolaos I. Hatzipateras in memory of Irene N. Hatzipatera.