October 5, 2015
The Opening Night Lecture entitled Looting and Beyond: Rediscovering the Early Cycladic Sanctuary on Keros will be given by Professor Colin Renfrew (Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn) on Wednesday evening January 6 at 6:00p.m. (Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel).
“The looting of archaeological sites, and the illegal traffic in antiquities which results, are still a major problem worldwide, not least in Iraq and Syria. Yet the aftermath can be interesting. The site of Kavos on Keros in the Cycladic Island of Greece came to light in 1963 as a result of looting. Subsequent work, most recently the excavations of 2006 to 2008, have revealed the site as the earliest regional maritime sanctuary in the world. Rituals were carried out there between c. 2750 and 2200 BC which involved the deposition of symbolic materials (including fragmentary marble vessels and sculptures) which had been deliberately broken, on other Cycladic islands, in rituals implemented at the end of their primary use. It will be argued that these, like the rituals of congregation seen in other pre-state societies, prefigured the emergence of the religious practices of worship accorded to transcendental deities which were a feature of many early states.”