Thera and the Aegean World


The First International Symposium
"The Wall Paintings of Thera"


     Clossing Addresses

     -Robert Laffineur

     -Peter M. Nomikos

The First International Symposium "The Wall-paintings of Thera" happily coincided with the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the prehistoric site of Akrotiri. The Symposium took place between Saturday, August 30th and Thursday, September 4th 1997 at the Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre. It was jointly organized by Idryma Theras- Petros M. Nomikos and The Thera Foundation, under the aegis of the Archaeological Society at Athens. The official language of the Symposium was English.

The Founder and President of the two Foundations Mr. Peter M. Nomikos presided over the Organizing Committee of the Symposium. The other Committee members were (in alphabetical order) Professor Manfred Bietak (University of Vienna), Professor Christos Doumas (University of Athens, Director of the Akrotiri Excavation), Professor Robert Laffineur (University of Liege), Professor Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn (University of Cambridge, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research), Dr. Marion True (The J. Paul Getty Museum) and Professor Peter M. Warren (University of Bristol).

Acknowledging the outstanding significance of the Thera wall paintings, the Symposium's aim was to examine the wealth of information provided by the iconography at Akrotiri on the art, the economy, the environment, and life in general in the Aegean during the Second Millennium B.C. The themes emerging from the study of the wall paintings were examined through
six different perspectives, each one constituting a Section of the Symposium: Modes of Representation, Social, Architectural/Functional, Environmental, Technical, and Religious/Symbolic. 90 archaeologists and scientists from other disciplines from different countries presented their views, as these emerged from the presentation of 55 commissioned papers covering a wide gamut of these themes.
Professor Robert Laffineur summarized the Symposium findings on the last day and the President, concluding the Symposium proceedings, talked about the "value" of the Thera wall paintings and archaeological treasures in general, today and in the future.

Incorporated in the Academic programme of the Symposium, and prepared by an interdisciplinary group of scientists, was a unique "happening", of experimental wall-painting with different plaster and colour samples, in an effort to reproduce for the benefit of the participants the method with which the Akrotiri wall paintings were created. A lecture was also given by the renown Greek painter Mr. Alekos Fassianos presenting his views on the concept of line on the Thera wall paintings. The Symposium offered a unique occasion for the first ever exhibition to the Greek public of the reproductions of the 41 wall paintings of Thera that had been restored thus far. The display was held in the exhibition area of the Conference Centre. Inspired by the Thera wall paintings, the distinguished Greek designer Mr. Yiannis Tseklenis designed a silk scarf, which was hand - printed in the Hellenic region of Soufli. It was presented to the Symposium participants and was sold at the Conference Centre.