In recent news a new government, and somewhat recent news – a new freedom to spend on cultural resources from donations. Good site stewardship requires regular site maintenance, and there has never been sufficient government funds to meet all the needs.
In the reproduced article below from Kathemirini, we at the Kommos Conservancy were struck by the efforts of Diazoma for ancient Greek theaters and their success in securing donation box installations for several sites. It seems that every site designated as significant, with available on site interpretation , would benefit from a web based and an on site management system for the collection of donations and the reallocation of those funds towards the site’s maintenance needs. Our sources informed us that funds collected from the entrance gate at Knossos, for example, used to be returned to the central government in Athens, but now do to the renewed functional public benefit through reuse, Diazoma’s boxes appear to be for the betterment or maintenance of the theaters directly! Perhaps it depends on the diversity of a designated site’s use to answer the question: Is regional reinvestment better than a centralized allocation for re-disbursement?
The Kommos Conservancy is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is the conservation of the Kommos archaeological site in south central Crete. A Minoan harbor town, part of which evolved into a Hellenistic temple site, that also housed a Phoenician shrine.
The national financial crisis has placed the archaeological park development and interpretation plans at the bottom of the list presently, arresting the necessary process for final planning. We will look for information on the National Strategic Reference Framework as indicated for Delos, and investigate if there is an avenue within that Framework for improved Kommos stewardship.
The Kommos Conservancy seeks grant funding and private donations towards the continuance of the necessary Kommos Archaeological Park Master Plan development and regulatory approval. We will also look into a donation box for the Kommos site and appeal to the Greek public patrimony and recreational beach visitor that pass by the site to support the conservation and educational outreach mission for this important experiential educational opportunity, at the exposed and in some cases fragile architectural artifacts. The Kommos Conservancy will no doubt have to speak to our friends at the Ephor’s office in Heraklion and receive approval from the Ministry of Culture & Tourism. The site is closed to the public, unlike the theaters supported by Diazoma in the preceding article. Mounting an informational/interpretive sign by the north-east corner of southern area of Kommos, where the donation box could also be installed, may make the case more compelling. Any ideas from our Facebook friends would be appreciated. Please consider a donation and visit our donation web page for further information.
A donation box for Delos
By Iota Sykka
“The initiative was treated with some suspicion in the beginning. The reason being that its aim, the protection and promotion of ancient monuments, is not the job of private enterprise but the responsibility of the state. Nevertheless, Diazoma, a citizens’ movement that was founded by politician Stavros Benos and whose focus is ancient theaters, is now bearing fruit. An increasing number of citizens are being sensitized to the idea of ancient theater renovation, seeking out funding for their refurbishment and incorporating the ancient monuments into our daily lives. The movement is even attracting those with very limited financial resources.
The result is that donation boxes have been set up to raise money for a number of monuments, including the theaters of Sikyon, Orchomenos, Sparta, Thorikos and Dodoni, to name but a few. In the case of the Ancient Theater of Delphi, the funding raised has reached the sum of 97,000 euros.
It was the Ancient Theater of Delos, however, which recently came into the spotlight. Fresh efforts are being put into saving one of the country’s landmark theaters, whose construction began shortly after 414 BC and ended 70 years later. Originally, the theater had a capacity of 6,500 spectators. Today, it is in urgent need of improved maintenance.
At a recent Diazoma event, Benos announced that the association’s board of directors is about to assign civil engineer Costas Zambas to work on a restoration study for the Delos theater. The project’s donation box currently contains 10,000 euros.
Also present at the Diazoma event was Minister of Culture and Tourism Pavlos Geroulanos. In his speech, Geroulanos reminded the audience that when it comes to culture, state funding has been seriously curtailed.
He also pointed to a new reality that is taking shape. “You can’t have culture without money, but money itself cannot buy culture.” In order to produce culture, said Geroulanos, you need “love, faith, enthusiasm, emotion and a deep understanding of the importance of collaborating.”
During the event, the director of the French School of Athens, Dominique Mulliez, was honored, while Professor Vassilios Lambrinoudakis talked about the French institution’s longstanding and multifaceted contribution. It was the French School, after all, which began excavating the site back in 1882. Meanwhile, the French School and Diazoma have signed an agreement to share information on the site.
While private initiative continues its efforts, there is something left for the state to do and that is to follow the necessary procedure in order to meet the deadline for the inclusion of the site’s renovation work in the National Strategic Reference Framework, which provides structural funding from the European Union.”