Greece A Monument In Peril

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Monday 08th of October 2007 09:51:52 PM
A monument in peril: Dear friends,

An ancient monument in Greece is seriously endangered and needs our help. The Diolkos, the famous paved road constructed around 600 BC and used to transport ships by land over the Isthmus of Corinth, is unique in its kind but it has never been protected since the time of excavation (~1960).

In an effort to save and restore the structure, we have created an international petition at

We invite you to sign and help preserve this historical monument.

Sofia Loverdou - Freelance science journalist
Yiannis Balafoutas - Retired teacher, writer

For more information and images, please go to (for english, with gallery images) (in greek, 2 pages with comments)


Saturday 20th of October 2007 01:30:44 PM
The Diolkos' tradegy:
Some days ago the most popular portal in Greece,, presented the Diolkos case.

It is a good thing to see the veil of silence about Diolkos begin to fall and a kind of "greek tradegy", complete with an innocent victim, slowly come to light...

For those interested, the link is

At the bottom of the article there is an image gallery, helpful even for those that don't understand greek...

Wednesday 12th of December 2007 08:47:02 PM
More disrespect for Diolkos...: Athough relevant services advertise their presumed interest in Diolkos, the erosion still continues to expand under the supposedly "sane" part of the monument. As it does, both ancient blocks AND their immediate substrate are hanging over a void!!!

I still don't know what was decided in a meeting that took place 2-3 weeks ago at the Ministry. I have the impression that MAYBE the permanent wall to protect Diolkos was discussed, but I still don't know for sure and - more importantly - ANY such decision would be of VERY doubtful value if it meant that more deterioration will be allowed untill actual protection work is undertaken.

Respect and attention for Diolkos are still lacking...

In November, the Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments (DAAM) sent a technical team to retrieve two ancient blocks that have fallen in 2007 from the part designated with the letter G in Werner's plan (you can see this in the link I am giving below). Nevertheless, they recovered only one of the two stones, since the second stone they brought up was NOT the one fallen last February (as instead they thought and aso wrote in their official report!).

This happened although I had personally shown images of the two stones (in two occasions) to the present Head of the Ephorate. Apparently, DAAM and the local ephorate did not coordinate...

During the recent DAAM team's visit, additional supports were place under the stones of the sector E which are now eaten by erosion. To do so, the team entered the sane part of Diolkos WITH THEIR VAN although there is a very convenient access from another point. The official report states that this operation was done in collaboration with the local ephorate; a lady archaeologist was also present, from what I hear (although I don't know who or from what body of the Ministry she was); so THIS leads us to be sure that neither the local ephorate people nor DAAM Knew or cared to look for the other access that wouldn't have a vehicle go over the ancient monument!!!


One more thing that shows how deplorable the role of the local ephorate has been under the former Head, Mr. Mantis (today at the Acropolis!!!), is this:

I had written to ask about a damage I had noticed on the part of Diolkos that is on the Attica side of the Canal (and is free from erosion). Although I had mentioned where this damage was, Mr. Mantis wrote to his superiors stating that they had performed an autopsy and nothing was wrong!!!!!

You can see the damage between the images at

It is on the double row of stones, a very interesting feature of Diolkos. Their western end has been removed (by a bulldozer I think - sometime between 1978 and 1984) and then replaced haphazardly. My recent photo shows only one of the two series (the one at left in the 1960 images which you can also see) but the other end is also damaged.

I DO hope Mr. Mantis does better as Head of the ACROPOLIS ephorate!

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