Thursday, January 19, 2006

Keros excavation planned to explain cache of Cycladic figurines

CBS News: "British and Greek archaeologists are preparing a major excavation on a tiny Greek island to try to explain why it produced history's largest collection of Cycladic flat-faced marble figurines.

Artwork from barren Keros inspired such artists as Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore but also attracted ruthless looters. Now experts are seeking insight into the island's possible role as a major religious center of the enigmatic Cycladic civilization some 4,500 years ago.

The Cycladic culture _ a network of small, sometimes fortified farming and fishing settlements that traded with mainland Greece, Crete and Asia Minor _ is best known for its elegant artwork: mostly naked, elongated figures with their arms folded under their chest. The seafaring civilization was eclipsed in the second millennium B.C. by Crete and Mycenaean Greece."