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News: Cultural Heritage
View of the Kasta mound (photo: Gregoris Tsokas).
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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Ministry of Culture and Sports speaks about the works on the Kasta hill

Central Archaeological Council

Due to recent press releases about the burial monument on the Kasta hill of Amphipolis, the Ministry of Culture and Sports draws attention to the serious problems faced by the monument and the difficulties that have emerged regarding its restoration and enhancement, caused primarily by the way it was excavated in 2014. The following announcement was issued by the Ministry of Culture and Sports: ‟It should be reminded that at the time, the excavation had advanced at an unusually fast pace and with the extensive use, verging on misuse, of excavation equipment for the removal of soil from the hill, that created stability issues resulting in the collapse of the soil along with stones from the monument’s enclosure.

In 2015 and 2016, the necessary rescue measures were taken by services of the Ministry of Culture and constant funding by the latter, with the notable cooperation of the Municipality of Amphipolis and the assistance of TERNA SA.

While immediate stabilizing measures were being taken, the Ministry of Culture drew up a programme of restoring, conserving, protecting and highlighting the burial monument and included the project in the Operational Programme of Central Macedonia with a budget of €1.5 million, after which the monument is to be restored, with infrastructures making it accessible to visitors.

Within the framework of the project, special attention was given to recruiting a specialized technical advisor by carrying out a competition with qualitative criteria. The aid of the technical consultant is crucial during the entire work, due both to the peculiarities of the monument’s construction and problems caused by the excavation process that was used.

Works on the monument have begun and are progressing at a fast pace. The construction site has already been set up and transporting scattered stones for the restoration of the monument is being completed, while at the same time excavation trenches and stratigraphic investigations have been conducted on the hill.

At this stage, conservation work on the painted plastered layers is being carried out and there is a plan to introduce the specialized studies at the Central Archaeological Council in the first quarter of 2019.

Apart from implementing this project, the Ministry of Culture and Sports is undertaking a comprehensive programme of actions and interventions to promote the wealth of monuments at Amphipolis. As part of this, procedures for expropriating sixteen properties on Kasta Hill began and are being completed, while important work is being carried out within the framework of a transnational programme with a budget of €276,000, so that Amphipolis can become a single, organized archaeological site.

For all the above, the Ministry of Culture and Sports is in continuous cooperation with the Regional Services, which are being constantly informed about the project’s progress.

Whatever else is happening is exploitation for petty political reasons and does not help promote the burial monument on the Kasta hill of Amphipolis as an organized archaeological site open to visitors. Cultural heritage does not offer itself for exploitation of a nationalistic nature and likewise cannot and must not be exploited for political reasons” concludes the announcement by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

NOTES
1. Translated from Greek into English by Archaeology Newsroom