ATHENIAN ARTIFACTS TO BE SHOWN IN BEIJING

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Added On July 13, 2018

More than 300 ancient Greek artifacts are being packed up and shipped to China for a new exhibition this Fall.

 
"The Antikythera Shipwreck" has a number of finds - including a 2000-year-old computer.
 
Lifestyles went to see them, before they left.
 
At the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, staff are carefully examining the exhibits to make sure they can survive the long journey.
 
SOUNDBITE(English) GEORGIANNA MORAITOU, Head of Conservation Department in Greece
"We are inspecting every item separately, we are taking care of the mounting of every single object following the museology study that exists, and we collaborate with our architect on how we are going to present them."
 
The museum is dedicated to the history of ancient Greece, and boasts more than 11,000 exhibits from 7,000 BC to the Roman conquest.
 
More than 200,000 more are locked away in storerooms.
 
Around 300 of these treasures will head to Beijing this Fall.
 
The exhibition concentrates on a 2000 year-old shipwreck, found off the island of Antikythera.
 
Finds include arms and feet of bronze statues, the marble statue of a wrestler, and a weird contraption thought to be the first analogue computer in history.
 
SOUNDBITE(English) IOANNIS PANAGAKOS, Conservator
"The artifacts are very corroded from the sea. Until 1900, they were under the sea. We are working with these objects for many years. In 2012, there was the first exhibition in the Archaeological Museum, and there is always something to learn from the objects regarding the difficulties of the corrosion. Now we have to plan every step from here to Beijing."
 
Most of the objects have been restored a couple of times, and fixes from 30-60 years ago are still visible.
 
Staff note how renovation work has moved on since then.
 
SOUNDBITE(English): GEORGIANNA MORAITOU, Head of Conservation Department in Greece
"Conservation is the part of all the archaeological science procedure that is the most exciting after the first discovery. We make a second excavation under the microscope, and we are very lucky to discover things, like traces of paint on all kind of materials, or even the fingerprint of a prehistoric workman who touched a ceramic object."
 
SOUNDBITE(English): IOANNIS PANAGAKOS, Conservator
"We take pictures in the visible eye, in the UV and IR spectrum so we can understand more clearly the surface of the object. To understand better the corrosion and if the object has some information, for example, color to gather everything in a database."
 
The exhibition comes as part of last year's Year of Greece-China Cultural Exchanges.
 
According to the museum's Director, tie-ups like this helps researchers develop their technical know-how.
 
The exhibits go on show at Beijing's Forbidden City Palace Museum from September to December later this year.