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“Treasures of Akrotiri” Exhibit Travels to Russia for First Time

Treasures of Akrotiri
The Akrotiri excavation site on Santorini. A new exhibit, “The Treasures of Akrotiri,” will bring artifacts from Santorini to Russia for the first time ever. Credit: Kapersky Lab

Previously-unseen artifacts from the prehistoric city of Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini will leave Greece to be exhibited in Russia for the first time in the Summer of 2021.

The exhibition, entitled “Treasures of Akrotiri,” is among the cultural events taking place as part of the “Russian-Greek Year of History” to celebrate the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence.

It will be hosted by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and co-organized by the Kaspersky Lab, which has been the main sponsor of the excavations in Akrotiri over the last six years.

The “Treasures of Akrotiri” go to Russia

Ancient frescoes, ceramics and artifacts dating back to the 18th-17th centuries B.C., representative of the unusually high level of cultural development of the prehistoric Aegean civilization that flourished at Akrotiri, will be shown to the Russian public for the first time, over a period of three months.

Many of the exhibits have never left Greece before, and some will travel to Russia straight from storage facilities without ever having been exhibited to domestic visitors.

The “Treasures of Akrotiri” exhibition was the main topic of discussion during a meeting between the Minister of Culture and Sports of Greece, Lina Mendoni, and the Ambassador of Russia in Athens, Andrei Maslov, on Tuesday.

“We don’t forget the important contribution of Russia in the formation of the modern state of Greece,” Minister Mendoni emphasized.

Spectacular findings from Akrotiri’s House of Benches

A large part of the exhibition is sourced from the most recent discoveries of the dig at the so-called “House of Benches” building.

Archaeologists discovered 13 clay boxes with artifacts of the Cycladic culture there which are estimated to be approximately 5,000 years old.

They were unearthed at the foundations of the building, where a bronze ibex was previously discovered in 1999 and where an altar may have been located.

Greece Russia
One of the most important findings of the dig at Akrotiri prehistoric city was a female marble figurine unearthed in 2018. Credit: Ministry of Culture

One of the most significant discoveries was a marble female figure of particular interest to science, as it reflects the departure of Cycladic visual arts from the early period and may be the key to unraveling many of the mysteries of Akrotiri.

Russian sponsor of dig a vital long-time supporter

According to archaeologists working onsite, the support of the Kaspersky Lab has given them  the opportunity to work in several areas at once.

The Russian company has been supporting the Athens Archaeological Society in their excavation project in Akrotiri since 2015. As the main sponsor of the project, it provides support in several areas of their work — from the restoration of wall paintings, or frescoes, to the conservation of the ruins of the ancient city.

Greece Russia
Akrotiri excavation leader, archaeologist Christos Dumas, at the frescoes restoration lab in Akrotiri. Credit: Kapersky Lab

“In our work, we strive to protect the things that are most important to people. Akrotiri is a treasure for all mankind, and it is our responsibility to preserve its amazing artifacts for the future,” stated Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, at the beginning of the sponsorship program.

“Therefore, I am proud that we can contribute to the study of a unique civilization and the continuation of archaeological excavations”.

The “Treasures of Akrotiri” exhibition will be open to the public from June 20 through to September 2021, at the main building of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

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