A Greek archaeologist responsible for approving building permits in Mykonos was brutally beaten and hospitalized in the Athenian suburb of Kifisia last week.
53-year-old Manolis Psarros suffered a severe blow to the back of his head, broken ribs and fractures to his nose and face. He was found in the street, dripping in blood and disoriented, by police after they were alerted by a passer-by.
The victim is an archaeologist and an employee at the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades, which deals with all issues related to the preservation, protection and safekeeping of antiquities.
Suspicions have been raised over the attack since the victim has been closely monitoring Mykonos and, more specifically, approvals for building permits for hotels and entertainment centers, registering infringements and illegal constructions.
The Greek archaeologist and building activities in Mykonos
Sources in the archaeological service told Kathimerini that they have linked the attack to the arbitrary building activities in areas of archaeological interest taking place on Mykonos, making special mention of two specific entertainment centers on the island’s beaches, which are under the scrutiny of the planning authorities.
Ta Nea newspaper notes that in Mykonos every year there are approximately 20 interventions by the archaeological services in the construction of properties where antiquities are found. Pressure is exerted on the archaeologists to speed up the investigations which can last between 3 to 10 months.
The Culture Ministry condemned the assault, while Mykonos Mayor Constantinos Koukas described the beating as a “criminal and brazen attack that has shocked us all.”
State-employed archaeologists in Greece launched strike action Tuesday to protest the assault.
Archaeologists employed by the Culture Ministry staged a five-hour work stoppage to protest what their association described as a “mafia-style attack.”
“Our colleague’s … personal life does not justify any such criminal attack and we directly relate it to the cases that he handled on the island of Mykonos,” Despina Koutsoumba, the head of the protesting archaeologists’ association told an online news conference Monday.
“In the course of his duties he had dealt with serious cases of violations of archaeological and environmental legislation and of the legislation to (protect) coastal areas,” she said according to the Associated Press.
One of the most popular of Greece’s Cyclades islands, Mykonos has a reputation as a luxury escape for those seeking beach-by-day, party-by-night vacations. But scratch the surface of this Greek isle and you’ll find a rich array of historical sights.
Among the most important antiquities on the island are the Neolithic settlement of Ftelia, a Mycenaean vaulted tomb in Angelika, and the residential remains in Divounia.
On the Dimasto peninsula, archaeologists have indications of the possible existence of another prehistoric city, while the Ministry of Culture is also concerned about the protection of the approximately 90 old churches on the island.