Archaeological Society of Greece Celebrates 180th Anniversary



Burial circle A, tomb IV from the top of the Lions Gate. In the background is the city of Argos. Photo by Robert McCabe

The Archaeological Society of Greece is celebrating 180 years of glorious history with a once-in-a-lifetime-exhibit of black and white photographs. An exhibit titled “Chronography – An Exhibition for the 180th anniversary (1837-2017) of the Archaeological Society” kicks off the yearlong celebration of this remarkable institution.

The exhibit consists of 53 stunning black and white photos taken by the great American photographer and philhellene Robert McCabe during 1954-55, which show all the major archaeological sites in the country of Greece.

The exhibit was opened this week by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and features guided tours conducted by the photographer himself.

The Erechthion at Dusk. Photo by Robert McCabe

McCabe first came to Greece in the summer of 1954 when he was a student at Princeton University. It was following this trip that he took many of the photos on display at the exhibition. His 53 dramatic black and white masterpieces depict structures and monuments at Knossos, the Acropolis, Rhodes, Methoni, and Thera.

The ruins of Delos, Dodoni, Corinth, Mystras, Meteora, Delphi, Epidavros, Mycenae, Sounio, and other areas are also portrayed in his photographs.

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, 1955. Photo by Robert McCabe

In his speech at the opening of the exhibit, President Pavlopoulos observed that “The Greeks have a strange relationship with our cultural heritage.” He added, “The country is full of monuments, either from the archaeological excavator’s tool, or because a farmer dug up an artifact with his plough… or because of weather conditions.”

A view of the Acropolis from the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Photo by Robert McCabe

In later remarks to the crowd gathered at the Archaeological Society, he noted that “We do recognize, however, that this heritage is not only ours – its value is global and timeless. Every piece of marble is a source that inspires the spirit through art.”

The exhibition aims to honor the Archaeological Society in Athens for all of its work over the last 180 years. Visitors will see heart-stopping and historically priceless photos of places such as Santorini as it appeared before the 1956 earthquake, and Epidaurus before the ancient theater was restored in recent years.

The exhibit, which was made possible by the Samourkas Foundation of New York, will be open until March 29, 2019. The museum is located at the Greek Archaeological Society Headquarters, 22 Panepistimiou Street in Athens.