NEWS

Brauron and Sounion sites are on waiting list for work

Emphasis on major excavations in Attica and the sprucing up of Marathon’s archaeological sites has deprived neglected regional museums and other significant sites of the opportunity to have work done. Work on the roof of the Marathon site and its museum will be completed within a few days, but nearby Brauron is still waiting for attention, while Sounion will spend another summer – this one during the Olympic Games – without electricity. The 48-year-old museum of Brauron, which was to have been smartened up according to a ruling by the Central Archaeological Council, will have to wait until after the Games. The Second Ephorate of Prehistorical and Classical Antiquities has put the refurbishment of both sites on the agenda, but lack of funding means nobody knows when the work will begin. Changes to the museum have been postponed, as has the reorganization of the exhibits, though Ephor Vivi Vassilopoulou says, «The site in general is a top priority for the ephorate.» She admits that it has been neglected in comparison with other sites in Attica, «and in particular that of Marathon, which was rightly given emphasis, but too much.» Cleaning and refurbishment of the site is under way, however, explained Vassilopoulou, «so that the archaeological site, which has been closed since it was flooded, can open again.» The archaeological site of Sounion has been abandoned to its fate, without electricity and dogged by other problems. For years the ephorate has practically begged for work to be done, not only on the wall of the fortress, which is at the point of collapse, but also at the Temple of Poseidon, yet since 1994 the requisite funds have not been forthcoming. Erosion of the stones in the embankment continues, and experts have shown that it may put the monument at risk in the future when the stones start shifting. The problem of the wall, especially of one 70-meter section, has been made known to the Culture Ministry. At some points stone plinths have collapsed, yet restorative work has not been carried out and the damage is getting worse. But the type of repair needed is not very difficult, since it basically involves repositioning the ancient material. And this is an internationally known site which is second only to the Acropolis in the number of visitors it receives. The fact that architectural segments are scattered about the site represents a problem, as visitors frequently do not realize how important the pieces are and walk on them. Soon coaches will be driving up with hundreds of visitors who want to see the Temple of Poseidon or watch the sunset at the site, but it looks like being a tough summer for the monument.