ROOM C: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIFE
Room C (floor area 250 sq. m.) contains a display of finds relating to the public and private life of the inhabitants of the ancient city. They are arranged in the following thematic units: housing, toilet, cults, coinage, weaponry, clothing and weaving, and athletics. At the far end of this large room there is a scale model of the Necropolis and a display of the unique bone plaques from Tomb I with other bone and ivory objects, as well as terracotta human figurines, which lead us into Room D, where the rest of the finds from the Archaic and Classical Necropolis are displayed.
Beyond the entrance, on the right, lies a reconstruction of Room Γ in the house known conventionally as ‘The House with the Staircases’, which was uncovered in the Hellenistic phase of settlement at Aiani. On top of the stone foundations we have erected walls of unbaked mud bricks, which we made ourselves, and coated the inner surfaces with plaster bearing the same colours as those on the fragments of original plaster that we gathered from the ancient houses. In the corner on the other side of the room, cases 2 and 3 contain a display of bronze and iron keys, bosses, nails and door knockers, followed by a variety of iron tools. In the low case 4 we have placed a variety of clay moulds, seals and stamps in order to show some of the activities of the workshops of ancient Aiani. A variety of toilet articles dating from the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic eras are displayed in cases 5 and 6. The latter includes glass vessels that once contained perfume and a pendant-amulet in the form of a man’s head (no. 10). Cases 7, 8 and 9, as well as the freestanding case 10, display items of weaponry dating from the Iron Age through to the Hellenistic era. In the freestanding case 10, on top of a marble fragment from the ancient city, we have placed the bronze plating from an ancient shield, a rare find from the ancient world, which was discovered in the form of hundreds of small fragments that have been preserved and reassembled. The case also contains a bronze helmet with a rectangular opening and a replica of a spear, consisting of a replica of a spearhead attached to a short shaft of cornel wood. Cases 11, 12 and 13, arranged around a column, contain displays of coins. Continuing around the column, cases 14-18 contain displays of finds relating to religion and cults.
We have created an exact replica of this type of loom, on which we have even woven some cloth, based on the design of the garments worn by figurine no. 9 in case 20 (cat. no. 11777). The only ancient objects used in this reproduction are the loom weights, known as agnythes, there are 35 of them in all, in a variety of shapes and sizes. A larger variety of loom weights, dating from the Neolithic Era up to the Hellenistic period, is on display in case 19, together with bobbins, spindle whorls (of which no. 57 is made of bone), and a silver needle. Case 20 contains nine terracotta figurines of standing or seated female figures, whose garments were rendered in colour. The next thematic unit, in cases 21-23, is athletics, which is represented by a wealth of archaeological artefacts. In case 24 we have placed a variety of bone artefacts. In the centre of the showcase, using as many fragments as could be joined together, we have reconstructed the frieze that ran around the interior of Tomb I (see the description of the tomb above and the reconstruction of it on the back of the showcase). The next showcases, nos 25, 26 and 27, display terracotta human figurines and plastic vases.
Dr Georgia Karamitrou – Mentesidi
Photos of Room C: