DIY digs at Mycenae show visitors are not properly supervised

Greece is virtually an enormous archaeological site, with minor or major findings coming to light at every excavation. However, there are some people, and even the State itself on occasion, who appear to be unaware of the importance of these findings. The State has no comprehensive policy for protecting and highlighting these sites, as is evident in the less-than-effective measures taken to guard them. Kathimerini photographer Yiannis Bardopoulos found this out while spending a recent Sunday at the Mycenae archeological site. On the small hill that was settled as early as the Neolithic Age, and then during the late Bronze Age, a group of foreign schoolchildren were wandering around the Acropolis, where the palace and throne room had been built. The photographer’s attention was drawn to two boys in particular who were looking around them furtively, as they moved away from their group and approached a site being excavated. They quickly began to explore the area very carefully, digging about with their hands and a pickaxe they found lying there, until they noticed the photographer’s camera being trained upon them. They moved away to join another group being guided around the site, as Bardopoulos moved over to photograph what had interested them so much. Later on, when they thought the coast was clear, the two youths went back to search once more among the ruins. Again, one of the youths noticed the photographer and warned his friend. This could happen anywhere, but it was the Acropolis of Mycenae, a major archaeological site with many notable features such as the Lion’s Gate, one of the most imposing monuments in antiquity. At the moment, work is under way to construct pedestrian walkways, which requires close examination of any undiscovered antiquities underneath these routes, but only nine people are employed to monitor the entire site and the adjoining museum during the year. However, another 22 seasonal workers will soon be joining them to help with guard duties and as cleaning staff.

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