you’re reading...

No period


his document describes the state of research on rock art in Greece as of the end of year 2001. I believe that the interest of the scientific community towards the rock art of Greece should be intensified, especially if we take into account the geographical position of such sites, which has permitted in the past an osmosis between cultures and favoured the westward expansion of anthropic fluxes. Filippi”s Municipality has modified its building plan by classifying the entire site”s area as ”A zone”, which his the highest protection grade, because this site has been identified as of being of primary archaeological and ethnological importance. An ecomuseum has been planned which, by covering an area of interest of approximately two square kilometres, will host the rock art evidence as well as the non-prehistoric artefacts from this area. The activity of this museum will involve the local community as well as the school system throughout an educational program. Researches are still in progress, during last years new sites have been discovered by HERAC (Hellenic Rock Art Center).[nggallery id=27]According to the almost classical cataloguing method proposed by Anati (E.Anati, Arte rupestre il linguaggio dei primordi, Ed. del Centro”94).
Three geographical areas of evolution in greek rock art are to be identified. The first consist in the island of Crete, the second includes the whole of the Cyclades Islands and the Island of Hevia, the latter Macedonia and Thrace.

In the locality of Asfedou (Sfakia), on the south-western side of the island, a rock shelter measuring 6 by 4 by 15 meters has been discovered at an altitude of 950 meters above sea level. The filiform engravings are situated on the bedrock of the cave covering a surface of 116 by 63 centimetres (Fig. 1).This finding is to be considered unique because of the engravings uncommon floor position. So far no accurate tracing has yet been made of this site that would permit to evidentiate the different engraving styles.

According to the sketches made by the discoverer (Papoutsakis 1973), animal figures with natural-like features can be recognized as well as small trees and branches. Small clusters of cupmarks are either ordered by a double row or by a circular pattern, so I”m led to think that the scene is to be dated to the first phase of the hunter-gatherers period, while the presence of a solar symbol at one extreme of the scene and a boat engraved on the other side remind us of evolute societies, as complex as the one of the sea people. A second locality with rock art paints discovered by Paul Faure (1964) in a cavern, on the mount Kapparukefala, near the village Pervolakia (Sitia), dated about 1400 a.C.

Cyclades Islands
The main concentration is in the island of Naxos. In 1965 Doumas has signalled the discovery, in a locality called Aronio, of engraved marble plaques representing ships, hunting and fertility scenes (Fig. 2).
Furthermore, in the museum of Apeiranthos, the Driti stone can be admired. It carries human footprints in association with solar symbols (a wheel), a fact that echoes what Beltran wrote: ”We refer to the relationship between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean sea, .. without for this fact lacking to take into account the Mycenean (Central-European) route which led to the Alps and brought there symbols…” (A. Beltran, Arte rupestre preistorica, pp. 95, 96. Jaca Book, Milano1993).

As to this fact it is important to remember the presence of dolmens and menhirs at Apeiranthos and Tsikalario, a fact that proves the existence in the Aegean area of a style trend stretching from the Mediterranean sea to the British Isles (G. Dimitriadis, Alla periferia della Grecità: Coppelle e canaletti nell”arte rupestre e nei megaliti. BCNews, Marzo 2000; Gli schemi geometrici in AA.VV. Il segno minore, Edizioni del Centro, 2001).

In the same area as the Cyclades I would like to point out the presence, in the Styra locality, of the filiform matrix of a bovine-like animal which is resembling the great animal figures in Levantine art. Nearby the site (at Drakospito) the presence of a megalithic building supports the thesis of a permanent populating of the island” south.

In the Rousses locality situated on the Rodopi promontory (Triandafillou, 1973) there are engraved rocks of great dimensions (2 by 1.7 by 1.75 meters): the greatest part shows average dimension cupmarks while an orant figure with big hands exhalts the composition of this scene (Fig. 3 ). A system of megaliths featuring astronomically significant alignments is located inside a Moslem cemetery.

In the North west of Macedonia the writer has been carrying on for two years the first systematic research and cataloguing of the greek rock art, with the purpose of both filling a void of action in the E-IV zone but also in order to bring to completion the WARA program (G.Dimitriadis, Alla periferia della Grecità: L”arte rupestre degli Edoni Traci in Valcamonica Symposium, 1999). Such site is located in the Seliani fraction of the Philippi municipality area (rocks SFa/R1, Fig. 4). It is the sanctuary of the thracian Hedones and it is based upon the myth of the thracian knight. It dates back to the transition period between the Final Bronze Age and the Initial Iron Age. A peculiar importance has the kind of stylistic evolution that can be found on the panel R1Py supporting rock SFa/R1, whose ”Levantine” style constitutes a ground for further mental elaboration and carries stylistic consequences by transforming the bovine”s body into an arch. Statistical analysis forecasts the greater typological concentration on R3
Along the Kaikmatsalan mountain chain (in the north-westerner Macedony) which divides Greece and Macedonia new sites have been discovered that are in need of tracing, cataloguing and further analysis.




Post a comment