The story of the twin Kouroi that were seized from looters by the Greek police in May, 2010, in Clenia of Corinth, shook archaeological circles and fascinated the public. The marble statues had been dug up by antiquities dealers planning to sell them off at €10 million apiece, however they were rescued at the last moment and handed over to the Archaeological Service of Greece. Finally, after six years, the public will be able to see the stunning Kouroi at the renovated galleries of the Archaeological Museum in Ancient Corinth from 13 July.
Their inauguration by Greek Culture Minister Aristides Baltas comes after delicate conservation work on the statues. The excavation team was able to locate their missing parts after digging at the site where looters had forcefully removed the statues. Archaeologists who searched 14 meters west of where the looters took the statues recovered more parts of the Kouroi, including two right legs, a foot attached to a plinth and tiny parts of their hair and ankles.
Now, the two statues, standing 1.8 meters tall with one slightly shorter than the other, and weighing 220 kilos each, are the centerpiece of the renovated museum that the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities decided to modernize in 2012. The gallery where they are being displayed is a new exhibition room which had previously been used as a warehouse.
Placed on two bases and bathed in light, they stand in full glory surrounded by other artifacts from the region of Klenia, where ancient Tenea once stood. In fact, the excavation of the twin Kouroi led archaeologists to a cemetery dating from 560 BC to the 3rd century BC where 77 tombs were located.
The exhibition features 430 artifacts, including many from the recent excavations that came about as a result of the looters’ activities when retrieving the Kouroi. These are displayed in six galleries which give details about the city state of Corinth from the Prehistoric Period, Korakou Hill and the site of Zygouries in the 10th century BC all the way to the Geometric, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods of the region. Other halls exhibit finds from the Roman, Byzantine and Frankish era, while one of the rooms holds objects stolen from the museum in 1990 and returned in 2001.
The exhibition, located in the center of the archaeological site, is enhanced by audiovisual aids and special signs that make a visit all the more informative. In 2015, there were 160,000 visitors to the museum, a number that is expected to increase with the renovations.
“The exhibition, located in the center of the archaeological site, is enhanced by audiovisual aids and special signs that make a visit all the more informative.”