Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shattered clues for solving Greek island's riddle
Unlike its larger, postcard-perfect neighbors in the Aegean Sea, Keros is a tiny rocky dump inhabited by a single goatherd.

But the barren islet was of major importance to the mysterious Cycladic people, a sophisticated pre-Greek civilization with no written language that flourished 4,500 years ago and produced strikingly modern-looking artwork.

A few miles from the resorts of Mykonos and Santorini, Keros is a repository of art from the seafaring culture whose flat-faced marble statues inspired the work of 20th century masters Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore.

Indeed, more than half of all documented Cycladic figurines in museums and collections worldwide were found on Keros. Now, excavations by a Greek-British archaeology team have unearthed a cache of prehistoric statues -- all deliberately broken -- that they hope will help solve the Keros riddle.

. . .

"What we do have clearly is what must be recognized as the earliest regional ritual center in the Aegean," [excavation leader Colin Renfrew] said.

Either that or "We always just dump the broken stuff over on that island. There's no on there anyway."

Good article though, read the whole thing.