Larissa’s archaeological concerns now moving ahead

A series of unsettled archaeological issues in the provincial city of Larissa in central Greece appear to be finding their way to solution. The contraction of the boundaries that define the ancient city – to within the limits of the ancient wall and, beyond that, three prehistoric settlements – comes as a first step to quell various complaints from residents. A decision that redefines the boundaries was reached earlier this week by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS). A second initiative just taken concerns work on the ancient city’s theater, which, according to archaeological authorities, may open to the public. The location has also proven to be a gold mine in terms of the finds being excavated. A third and final piece of news from Larissa’s archaeological front concerns the completion of the city’s long-pending museum, to be located along the road to Trikala, west of Larissa. A project whose origins date back to the mid-1980s, the museum will be one of the country’s largest. Its floor space will amount to just under 12,000 square meters. A Finance Ministry approval for funds to be allotted to the project is currently in the works. Plans for the museum’s first exhibition, «Women in Thessaly,» are already under way. Until then, however, locals can visit an exhibition of 94 magnificent items, recently repatriated from Germany, on show at the city’s old museum. Returning to the contraction of the ancient city’s boundaries, this development promises to solve numerous problems faced by citizens. After all, a regulation enforced in 2003 that requires stricter examination of digs for both private and public sector projects has provided ample protection for archaeological concerns. But it has also led to numerous ridiculously complicated ordeals for locals. Installing an air-conditioner at home, for example, or getting a power connection for old homes has required official approval from archaeological authorities. The authorities have come up with an interesting idea to raise the awareness of locals on antiquities being discovered within the city. They recommend partial accessibility, to small groups of visitors, to the 3rd century BC theater, where archaeological finds include a statue of the goddess Artemis. The proposal, according to Anthi Efstathiou, an archaeological official, will be examined at an upcoming KAS meeting. The theater’s preservation will also be discussed. A decision on new funding for the project is expected next week.