ROOM D: CEMETERIES OF THE ARCHAIC AND CLASSICAL TIME
Room D (floor area 110 sq. m.) contains displays of finds that come almost exclusively from Archaic and Classical graves, as has already been mentioned, and particularly from the necropolis at Leivadia, which we have named the Royal Necropolis on account of the large built chamber tombs found there that belonged either to kings or other individuals of illustrious rank.
Case 1, on the left, contains gold and gilded silver artefacts and the silver snake from the House with the Staircases. On two gilded silver sheets (no. 2) it is possible to discern the seated figure of the Cyclops Polyphemus facing two sheep with men tied beneath them: of course, this is the scene depicting Odysseus and his companions leaving the cave, as described by Homer. Case 2 contains jewellery and clothing accessories, both of gold and silver, glass and amber beads, and parts of a wreath with a gilded bone stem, to which were affixed gilded bronze leaves and wires for gilded clay fruits (Tomb A). Similar pieces of silver and bronze jewellery are displayed in case 3. Even after the pillage and the looting, enough has survived to make one wonder at the wealth of the inhabitants of ancient Aiani. Case 4 contains a set of bathing vessels from an undisturbed group of finds, consisting of an iron tripod, a bronze lebes, an oinochoe and a lekanis on a base with three lion’s feet legs and handles that terminate in palms. Case 5 contains bronze artefacts and an iron tripod. The adjacent cases 6 and 7 also contain bronze and iron finds: they have all been grouped together in order to facilitate the task of providing the special low humidity conditions that are required for their preservation. Case 8 contains a group of terracotta figurines of horses, some of the best preserved specimens from the Necropolis.
The small free-standing case 9 contains a double-headed kantharos, the product of an Attic workshop from the early 5th century BC depicting the heads of a black and a white woman. Case 10 contains a number of terracotta vases from three groups of grave goods dating from the middle and the second half of the 6th century BC. They include imported Corinthian and Attic vases, as well as vessels from a local workshop. In case 11 the output of the local Aiani workshop can be clearly seen in the form of two skyphoi (nos 1 and 2), particularly in exhibit no. 1 with its depiction of an archer in vigorous motion. Case 12 contains three groups of grave goods, consisting of terracotta vases, figurines and an alabaster alabastron from the late 6th and first half of the 5th century BC. The quadrant-shaped case 14 contains a display of coroplastic objects, such as bird-shaped plastic vases, figurines of a wild boar and a lion, fragments of plastic vases in the form of a siren, eggs and lotus fruits. The free-standing case 15 contains the Attic red-figure pelike with a representation of a young man in front of a Hermaic stele on one side and a man and a woman dressed in himatia on the other. The free-standing case 16 displays an Attic black-figure amphora from the mid 6th century BC, or slightly later, with a very important representation. Case 17, in the corner, contains a number of individual pottery finds from the 6th century BC, while case 18 contains Corinthian and early Attic pottery. An example of very early Attic pottery (dating from c. 580-570 BC) may be seen in the fragment labelled no. 33 (cat. no. 10402) in case 19 : this is from a vase produced by the so-called Gorgon Painter or his circle, which preserves a representation of some lion or panther feet in a metope panel . The adjacent case 20 contains vases that were produced by the local Aiani workshop. Finally, case 21 contains polychrome pottery produced by local workshops in the first half of the 5th century BC. These were executed by applying polychrome decoration directly onto the clay.
Dr Georgia Karamitrou – Mentesidi
Photos of Room D: