“The protection and promotion of the ancient quarries of Paros – Lessons from relevant experiences ”
Tuesday 16 March 2021
On Tuesday March 16th, the “Friends of Paros and Antiparos” organised an online information meeting on “The protection and promotion of the ancient quarries of Paros and the relevant experiences from other parts of Greece” with the participation of the Director of Antiquities of Cyclades Mr Dimitris Athanassoulis, Mayor of Paros Mr. Markos Kovaios and the Head of Province of Paros-Antiparos, Mr. Costas Bizas, and with high level speakers. The meeting was coordinated by the Head of the Department of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and Museums – Cyclades Ephorate, Mrs Zozi Papadopoulou.
The issue of protection and promotion of the ancient marble quarries has engaged public authorities, residents and visitors of our island for a number of years. The efforts for the protection and promotion of the ancient quarries are following on from the workshop co-organised by FoPA in November 2019 in Parikia, with actions regarding the ownership status of the archaeological site, and studies on the stability of ancient underground galleries which may also be affected by the activities of the adjacent modern quarries, and their digital mapping.
The purpose of the meeting was to gather information and learn from the experience and advice of organisations that have successfully handled the creation and operation of relevant initiatives so as to move more decisively towards the final destination: the creation of an archaeological and cultural park at the archaeological site in Marathi that will contribute to the valorisation of the ancient quarries and the sustainable development of Paros.
The Technological and Cultural Park of Lavrio is the culmination of decades of effort by the National Technical University of Athens (which owns it and manages it through a public limited company) to create a park in the area of the famous ancient silver mines that houses new technologies in historic industrial redundant buildings. The Vice President and Executive Director of Lavrio TCP, Professor Dimitris Kaliampakos, presented in detail the process of the creation of Lavrio TCP. Based on this experience he suggested that the ancient quarries of Paros should:
- become a key element of the identity of the local community of Paros;
- the Municipality should be directly involved, according high priority to this goal;
- an overall promotion plan should be formulated;
- a critical mass of residents–local stakeholders–experts should be created that will support it.
The Association ‘DIAZOMA’ has rich experience in promoting ancient theatres and in the creation of cultural routes and archaeological parks. The President of the association and former Minister of Culture, Mr Stavros Benos emphasised the great importance of the management of archaeological and cultural resources. He stressed the need for methodical preparation and the multiple possibilities of securing funding from various sources in the public and private sectors. Lastly, he stressed that the proper governance of such projects needs a partnership of the Ministry of Culture, the municipality and the local community.
The Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP) is a non-profit organisation that has, among others, established a network of 9 thematic museums throughout Greece, one of which is the Tinos Marble Museum, which has been operating since 2008. Mr Christos Ringas, Head of Research and Educational Programmes PIOP explained that the museums belong to the local community and that the PIOP manages them through long-term cooperation agreements. He also stressed the importance of the relationship with the local community for the sustainable operation of the museums.
The three presentations were followed by questions to the speakers and discussion. The Zoom meeting was attended by 75 fellow citizens and many others followed it live through Facebook. The “Friends of Paros and Antiparos” keep the message that the the local community’s engagement is a necessary condition for the success of any effort to protect and valorise the ancient quarries and will come back with proposals for the realisation of the vision of creating an archaeological and cultural park in Marathi.