one of the most significant Neolithic Caves in Europe?
The decision taken by the Ministry of Culture since 2005 to cut off financing the archaeological work in Diros, one decision that was actually published in 2007, during the administration of the Secretary General Mr. Christos Zachopoulos, led as a result to the abolition of the scientific committee and the work separation from the Fund of Credits’ Handling for the Execution of Archaeological tasks.
The touristic function of the
The Centre of Diros Neolithic Studies and its President as well as Honorary Ephor of Antiquities, Mr. George Papathanassopoulos –supported by his partners- aims to ask for the Unesco auspices and mark Alepotrypa Cave as a protection area of cultural and environmental heritage. It is necessary therefore that the Ministry of Culture reconstitutes the committee in charge as well as it incorporates again
Instead of making this Cave known worldwide, at other European schools, focusing on the impact of Diros Museum which has been there since 1992; instead of organizing a network of cultural exchanges for education and young people, highlighting the value of research and the historic, environmental interest; instead of creating for instance an international program of two weeks accompanied with lectures, workshops and educators’ or students’ visits in Alepotrypa; instead of all this, political factors and in this case Ministry of Culture abolish the appropriations for Diros work and therefore for one of the most significant Neolithic Caves in Europe. And this is sad to happen in a country that soon obtained its Ministry of Tourism. It seems that the physiocratic perception about tourism and the investment on beaches and sun cast shadow on tracing a cultural tourism and innovative proposals in order that new places of action are created in an attempt to link meditation and experience for Greeks and every man eager for learning.
Alepotrypa -with ventilation and stable temperature fixed at 18 degrees- is a long cave of
Interventions for the touristic exploitation of the cave were put forward during the decade of 1960 with rock-blastings and excavations about the shaping of space, the construction of cement grounds and corridors, as well as the creation of cement and iron scales. Also these rock-blastings and excavations regarded the infrastructure in an extended network of electro logical installation. These interventions however led to the destruction and considerable loss of important anthropogenic earth heaps in large width.
Today, notwithstanding the earthmovings and the destructions of 1960, the cave preserves anthropogenic earth movings of large width, which are mostly covered by stalagmites and a layer of dispersed stalagmite material. It is not to be forgotten the geologic fact of 3200 B. C., the earthquake that cut off life at the cave but also it rescued testimonies of Neolithic culture in Greece during the 4th millennium B.C. The destruction caused by the earthquake has been obvious from the bulks and the rubble of rocks that had been collapsed from the roof and the side walls. Just to follow the history, that earthquake prevented Alepotrypa entrance and had as a result the encirclement and death of several residents. Speleologists reached this conclusion after examining the earth heaps’ surface with the dispersed skeletons of unburied death bodies.
After that earthquake Alepotrypa was not again used, so that was the ultimate moment for this
The fiflty year period that Alepotrypa cave completes this year (1958-2008) includes errors too, whose responsibility must be undertaken by official factors, chiefs at the department of Antiquities in Sparti as well as by the Central Direction of the official Ministry chief for the first period 1958-1970. According to Mr. Papathanassopoulos there had been works without written approvals, without presence of any archaeologist, photos and designed surveys and mainly without the observance of any archaeological diary, meaning without documentation. Therefore, the image of the ultimate moment has been lost; the environment as it had been immobilized after the earthquake in 3200 B.C. does not exist any more. It is necessary that the second era (1970-2008) closes more cheerfully with the new opening of Diros Work and its financing by Ministry of Culture so that we can hope for the advent of a substantial tomorrow about nature and civilization. The one day lecture, which was conducted on 31st of March 2008, by the Centre of Diros Neolithic Studies and the Pallakonic Union, about
*translation of the original Greek text published at the issue 919, Anti political and cultural review, 11.04.08
Centre of Diros Neolithic Studies
Matthaiou Liougga 5, 16675
Tel: +30 210 9648 470, 27330 52150
Fax: +30 210 9648 815, 27330 52160