ROOM A: THE HISTORICAL IDENTITY OF UPPER MACEDONIA, ELIMIOTIS AND AIANI. PREHISTORIC FINDS
Room A (floor area 153 sq. m.) presents a display on the historical identity of Aiani, capital of Elimeia or Elimiotis, and the broader region of Upper Macedonia, followed by finds from the Neolithic Era and the Bronze and Iron Ages. In a virtually square space closed in on three sides, the new historical physiognomy of the region is presented with epigraphic finds and audio-visual aids.The name of the city of Aiani is mentioned in two inscriptions: one of these is on the grave stele of Adista from the 1st-2nd century BC, which is displayed on the lower section of the first information panel with the map of Upper Macedonia. On the next side of the room hangs a panel presenting an historical/archaeological overview of the Prefecture of Kozani, with pictures of the most important finds, a map showing the boundaries of the ancient kingdom-states, and text. At the other end of the same panel there is a map showing ancient and modern Aiani with the local archaeological sites, accompanied by pictures of the ancient city on the Megali Rachi hill. On the third side of the room hangs a panel with pictures of the most important archaeological sites and the finds from Aiani, accompanied by an explanatory text on the historical evolution and role of the kingdom of Elimeia or Elimiotis, of which Aiani was the capital. There is also information about the royal house of Elimeia, many of whose members are known from the ancient sources, together with details of their activities.This unit on the historical identity and new historical physiognomy of the region is rounded off with a display of some of the early epigraphic finds from Aiani.
The rest of the exhibition space in Room A is devoted to a display of the prehistoric finds, which are arranged in three groups. The first thematic group, in cases 4-7, presents a picture of Aiani during the Neolithic Era and the Early and Middle Bronze Ages. The large information panel that follows provides an introduction to the finds in the second and third groups (from the Late Bronze Age, 1600-1100 BC, and the Iron Age, 1100/1050/1000-700 BC) through a variety of texts, a map of the Mycenaean sites in the Kozani Prefecture, pictures from excavations and drawings. The Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 BC) in Upper Macedonia is marked by the appearance of Mycenaean finds, as well as the appearance and dissemination of pottery with matt-painted decoration (15th century BC) although some Late Bronze Age remains may be of even earlier date.
In the Kozani prefecture as a whole, Mycenaean finds have been discovered at 28 locations in 21 modern settlements. Evidence of the mycenaean presence is growing all the time and lends increasing weight to the view that there was probably some form of Mycenaean settlement in the region. Particularly in the Aiani area and around the middle reach of the Haliakmon, it is natural that a web of mutual exchanges and influences should have developed with the neighbouring region of Thessaly.
The handmade type of pottery known as Macedonian matt-painted ware or Doric ware is believed to have been used by the north-western Greek tribes, which included the Macedonians, as has already been mentioned. This type of pottery is particularly widespread at Aiani, which evidence shows was an important centre of production with a pioneering workshop that functioned from the 15th century BC onwards. Products from this workshop have been found in many locations, both in the surrounding area and further afield. Most of the sites at which matt-painted pots have been discovered are in Western Macedonia, particularly along the river Haliakmon (there are about 60 sites in Western Macedonia overall, of which 46 have been identified in the Kozani Prefecture alone, owing to the careful research there.
Cases 18-22 contain finds from the Iron Age. Cases 18, 19 and 20 contain clay vases, mostly handmade, that are representative of the range of ceramic forms used in the Iron Age, the most common form being that of the jar, in a variety of types. Case 21 displays a wide variety of bronze jewellery in the form of necklaces and collars, spectacle fibulae, pendants, buttons, bracelets, and a group of triangular and arched wavy fibulae.
Dr Georgia Karamitrou – Mentesidi
Photos of Room A: