In August 2021, the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities completed the exhibition programme of the Museum of Prehistoric Thera with “Wall paintings of Thera. The treasure of the Prehistoric Aegean”, presenting the entire unique set of conserved prehistoric wall paintings from Akrotiri to the public for the first time.

A complete renovation of the Archaeological Museum of Thera, which houses the island’s great exhibits from historical times, is already underway by the services of the Ministry of Culture. The museum’s main exhibit is planned to be the Kore of Thera, a rare masterpiece of Greek sculpture from the 7th century BC, which unexpectedly came to light in November 2000 during rescue excavations by local archaeologist Charalambos Sigalas in the cemetery of the ancient city of Thera, in southeastern Sellada.

The colossal 2.48m Archaic kore of white Naxian marble with a built in attachment pin at its base is almost intact. The sculpture, missing only the tip of the nose and the arm of the bent right hand resting on the chest, is one of the few stone works of notable early Greek sculpture surviving to the present day, expressed in the particular statues of the kouros and the kore that were  the archetypes of that era’s beauty.

The almost intact statue of a female figure wearing a long Doric peplos significantly adds to our understanding of the kore type of the second half of the 7th century BC, with its excellent state of preservation enhancing its stylistic features and unique artistic value.

The statue completes earlier findings of the same period, also from the cemetery of Ancient Thera; sections of kouroi and korae in the innovative Naxian tradition, but in a poor state of preservation. Moreover it highlights the economic prosperity and the desire of Thera’s aristocracy of that time to promote itself, as well as its aesthetic preferences and its close contact with the artistic process.

When excavating the wider region in which the statue was discovered, no additional evidence was found to locate its base or link it to a specific burial. However the excavator’s interpretation of the statue as a piece of funerary sculpture is considered plausible since it was found placed in a supine position in an area of archaic burials, next to the ancient stone-paved road crossing the cemetery and leading to the ancient city.

Since the renovation work of the Museum is progressing and expected to be completed next year, the marble statue of the Kore was taken out of the archaeological storerooms and is being displayed to the public for the first time by the Ephorate of Cyclades in a temporary exhibition, opened by the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni on September 4, 2022.

The opening of the temporary exhibition of the Kore of Thera took place in the presence of the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

As the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni said in her greeting: “Out of her love for the Cyclades and Culture the President of the Republic extended her stay and is with us on this very important day, since this unique find has spent the last 22 years in the storerooms . Despite the museum being under renovation, the time has come to hand it over primarily to the people of Thera and of course to the island’s visitors.”

The President of the Republic, accompanied by the Minister of Culture and Sports, also visited the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, where she was given a guided tour of the museum’s exhibits and the wall paintings of Akrotiri by the head of the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities Dimitris Athanasoulis.