THE WAR AGAINST THE WORK OF THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF GREECE AND TOWARDS ARIS POULIANOS
After visiting the previous web pages, it is needless to clarify more the great contribution of Aris Poulianos and the Anthropological Association of Greece to the scientific research. Also, predictable are the envy and bitterness of all whom theories were totally opposed. However, the belligerence that has been practiced towards this research project many times reached an unfamiliar wildness that it cannot be easily excused. For this reason we consider wilful to give a quick history of how this war twists between the various discoveries and the corresponding events that followed them during the last four decades.
In Moscow, 1960, Aris Poulianos defended his doctoral thesis “The origin of the Greeks”. This work was received with the most encomiastic remarks from scientists of the eastern as much as the western world. A year later, Professors from the University of Athens and board members of the Greek Anthropological Association, J. Koumaris, V. Valaoras, Ch. Maltezos and others greeted his project with excitement. In 1962, in a special session, he was awarded a special reward. Also, Professor Maltezos delegated to Moscow to invite him to accept a seat in Anthropology in honour of the Greek government. On the other hand, the Soviets in an effort not to lose such a promising scientist, offered Aris Poulianos permission to anthropological studies in many countries of the ex-eastern block and they offered him to take charge of the Anthropological and Archaeological Institute of Turkmenistan. Being nostalgic of his own country and the fording of the prehistoric skull at Petralona cave dispatched his return to Greece.
Since January 1965 he has been permanently near the scientific material that interested him most. He begins with the study of Cretans, Sarakatsani and the cave of Petralona as a scientific advisor of the Ministry of Coordination, at that time. He was then appointed along with other professors to the administrative committee in charge of the newly established University of Patras and recommended establishing a seat in Biology and Anthropology. His recommendations were accepted. In 1967, Prime minister P. Kanellopouls, that only governed for 18 days from April 3 to 21 with tremendous political problems, he found the time to purposely and personally get involved to dismiss Aris Poulianos along with the Professor of Mathematics, S.Zervo, from the seat of the administrative committee in charge. K. Kribas then replaced him and since then the seat of Anthropology at the University of Patras is abolished.
After the imposition of dictatorship, Aris Poulianos was then imprisoned (with vivid negative consequences to his family) and afterwards exiled to Yaros and Leros islands. In the meantime the news of his arrest became known abroad from a Finlandian student who was held with him and described of their imprisonment to a Scandinavian newspaper. In Washington, the exiled Melina Merkouri along with other Greeks of the dispersion demonstrated with banners for his freedom. He was released the same year mainly due to the international outcry of the members of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), whom protested with several letters toward the dictators.
In 1968 despite of the times as formerly mentioned, as vice president of the Greek Spelaeological Association, he achieved to proceed with the first excavation of the Petralona cave. This excavation was interrupted within one month by order of the General Inspector of Antiquities, Mr. S. Marinatos, whom for this purpose sent to Petralona the director of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquity of Thessalonica, F. Petsas and the professor of Archaeology, G. Despinis. The same year after vigorous interference of I. Koumaris, Aris Poulianos was permitted to joint the 8th International Congress of IUAES in Tokyo, with an announcement regarding the origin of the Balkan population, where he was elected as Vice President of the Congress. On behalf of the Canada delegation he was presented the seat of Anthropology for the University of Toronto and the head of the department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Canada with a special mission to study the Indians of America. Aris Poulianos chose to remain in Greece near the anthropologic material of his preferred studies.
In a recent visit (11-10-1999) to the cave and museum of Petralona by the Mayor of Toronto she wrote in the commonplace book (of impressions) as follows: "Canada’s loss in 1968 was to the benefit of the world. Thank you, Dr Poulianos for showing us the beginnings of our world. It was a great honour to have you as guide. " Quote, Unquote by Barbara Hall. Toronto Canada.
In 1969-71 he, although without salary, basically with the support of his family, continued his anthropological research to inhabitants of Dodecannes, Sporades, and Ionian islands. He publishes the Origin of the Cretans and establishes the Anthropological Association of Greece. He undertakes the anthropologic training of Th. Pitsios, D. Kouptovic, N. Poulianos, and N. Xirotiris. Under his guidance the first three completed their postgraduate studies in Germany, Poland, and Italy respectively. He proceeds to the studies of Palaeoanthropological material of the archaeological excavations of G. Papathanosopoulos at Diros (Mani) and of William McDonald from Petalidi (Messinia). Again S Marinatos interferes and forbids the continuation of both researches. He also sends his employee, G. Tzedakis, to take away the cranium of the Minoan microcephalic (small head) from the hands of Aris Poulianos, while he was in the process of preserving and studying it. Finally the cranium ended up illegally overseas (see 1997). By this fact was revealed for which interests the Greek Archaeological Service does look after.
In 1972, during a press conference, Aris Poulianos denounced the Administration of Antiquity that without cause forbids the research to Greek scientist while foreign Anthropologists (a German, a Turk, etc.) have an unhindered access to corresponding findings. This denouncement was the only one, under junta, that reached all the way to the Press and it certainly had some continuation, although with no effect.
In 1973, Aris Poulianos proceeds to the 9th International Congress of IUAES in Chicago where he announces his conclusions on Sarakatsani.
After the collapse of junta in 1974, he returned to his research at Petralona with the permission of the Central Archaeological Council. To this N. Kontoleon presided as the General Director of Greek Antiquity and vice president of the Anthropological Association of Greece. The excavations of the following years attribute to a mass of new troubling conclusions.
From 1978 and on one professor of geology from Athens, one from Thessalonica, and a part of the Daily Press undertakes a campaign against him. (Available there is a relative list of newspapers). Most answers of the Anthropological Association of Greece do not pass to the corresponding columns.
The same year even though the boycott of the above professors in aid from N. Xirotiri, the European Union of Anthropologists supports the candidature of Greece with 19 votes towards 2 of Germanys for the organization of the 3rd European Congress of anthropology in Petralona (1982). The fact that from that time, N. Xirotiris undertakes positions to various Universities of the country is worth curiosity. Also to one of his unsuccessful attempts to refute the scientific team of A. Poulianos regarding the age of the Petralona skull, he proceeds to unbelievable damages to the finding. Up to today this denouncement has not being investigated by the Ministry of Culture.
In 1980-8l, the Petralona cave opened to the tourist's and next to it the 1st in function Anthropological Museum of the country was erected, with funds from the Anthropological Association of Greece (over 100 million drachs.) and subsidy from the Greek Organization of Tourism (23 million.). The ex President of France Ziscar D'Esten and of Greece Konstantinos Karamanlis have visited the cave and Museum of Petralona and congratulated the Poulianos excavating team for their work. The Professor of Archaeology S. Dakaris presenting Dr Aris Poulianos to the Senate of the University of Ioannina he characteristically said: The work of Aris Poulianos is like a stone that falls in a lake and agitates it's waters.
In 1982 the 3rd European Congress of Anthropology was organized at Petralona Anthropological Museum under the Presidency of Aris Poulianos. The Minister of Culture Melina Merkouri granted permission for excavations for indefinite duration for Chalkidiki and the basin of Ptolemais.
Suddenly, in 1983 again it was forbidden to Aris Poulianos and to every member of the Anthropological Association of Greece the approach for excavations from the Director of Antiquity G. Tzedakis. In 8-18-1983 bullies attacked the excavating team, whom later with retrospective strength were hired as employees of GOT (Greek Organization of Tourism).It is a matter of unprecedented circumstance of bullies hired by the government. The Anthropological Association resorted to the courts as much for the attacks, as for the new prohibition of the searches with main argument the damages that threatened the cave and its findings, also the defence of intellectual rights. The instigator of the bullies sentenced at the court of 1st instance, while at the court of appeal he declared remorse and he was pardoned. The pre-mentioned perpetrators of slander (see 1979) released from the court “because to their publication and act in ignorance of the inaccuracy of what they wrote”.
1984. In an inspection, the Ministry of Economics under the Minister D. Tsovolas, confirmed that the amounts the Anthropological Association of Greece consumed are more than the subsidy of GOT. Even though the GOT depositions a summon towards Aris Poulianos for irregularities.
In 1987the man who found the Petralona skull Christos Sarigianidis was fired from the cave as one of Poulianos' staff. To this man the country owes honours, at this point they deprive even his retirement. The Anthropological Museum closes to the public. In ignorance and absence of the Anthropological Association of Greece a new committee was formed at the cave of Petralona with G. Tzedakis in charge, 120 million wasted without any work.
1994. The above director of the Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (Tzedakis) misinformed the service council and detached Nickos Poulianos the only Doctor of Palaeoanthropology that the Ministry of Culture has available, from the Service of Palaeoantropology – Spelaeology to the Submarine Service of Antiquity. The aim to that was to waste with every means the very same palaeoanthropological Service. The appropriate court considered this transfer illegal. Inside the Ministry of Culture came down a “relentless axe” and G. Tzedakis undertook even higher positions, first of the General Director of Antiquities and than the President of a company managing the Greek Archaeological resources (Low N.2557, see 1997). G. Tzedakis also imposed as the head of a “committee” for a new exhibition of the findings of the Petralona Museum, which was financed only for the relevant preliminary study with 10 million drachmas! Unknown remains how much the study itself had cost. This revealed one of the reasons that the Museum was closed in 1987 and about 1.000.000 visitors could not visit it's findings.
From the post graduate studies of a student at the University of Thessalonica it was confirmed that 700 and more significant findings of the Petralona cave ended up (from 1968) with the blessing of the same University to the laboratories of Palaeontology in Hanover of Germany. The Anthropological Association of Greece proceeds to a denouncement to the Ministry of Culture. The University reacts immediately and declared the same student to a Professor. Even though the fact that relative reports see the lights of publication to newspapers of all the political spectrum, the Ministry of Culture avoids to proceed to a virtual inspection of the denouncements.
1996. After a 12-year judicial struggle, to the Greek courts of all degrees (Court of 1st Instance, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.) came to light that the GOT with the Ministry of Culture illegally discarded in 1983 the Anthropological Association of Greece and that for the benefit of the Greek public the Association must return to its excavations. However, the GOT not only did not comply but it continued its previous illegal actions. Many Greek members, as well as the European Anthropological Association supported this struggle.
1997. After a new appeal for not executing judicial decisions the Court of 1st Instance of Athens ordered the dismissal of the GOT and the reinstallation of the Anthropological Association of Greece at the Petralona cave and Museum. There upon after, the ex Minister of Culture (and today Minister of Tourism and Professor of the constitutional law) Ev. Venizelos issued an unheard decision with which he forbidden Aris Poulianos and the members of the Anthropological Association of Greece to «approach»(!) to the surrounding area of the cave, calling the local authorities to react. The Professor did not know that even the President of Democracy couldn’t reverse the judicial decisions? Finally, on May 1997, in the name of the Greek people the Prosecution Office of Thessalonica reinstalled the Anthropological Association of Greece in Petralona, although under the reign of assaults and batteries.
By the Poulianos reinstallation the loss of important findings excavating diaries was confirmed, as well as the performing of illegal excavations of which the findings are unknown where they have ended up and when they will probably appear again as booty to some foreign Museum. It has been confirmed that at the time of the Trial hearing and absence of the Anthropological Association of Greece the illegal employees of GOT with the total consent of the Ministry of Culture have installed a… pigsty and an quail aviary in the area of the cave and of the Anthropological Museum.
The GOT in a desperate attempt to state ineffective the decisions of the courts, ordered in the midsummer the termination of the telecommunications and the water supply exposing Greece (to be subject even for substantial hygiene and fire safety etc.) in the eyes of the foreign and Greek visitors. Furthermore, it did not dispatch to the booking office the tickets for the cave, as they were obligated, so there would not be any income and the Anthropological Association of Greece would be obliged to desert the area because of difficult operating expenses. These damages again were restored in 1998 with new decisions of the Greek Justice.
In spring of 1997 the significant finding of the Minoan microcephalic skull was repatriated, that had flee to Vienna for pretended study while Marinatos was in charge in 1971. After the fall of Junta Aris Poulianos searched for this cranium so he could continue his studies. In 1982 he was informed that it was in the hands of a German Anthropologist so he requested the Ministry of Culture to search accordingly. The government employees with G. Tzedaki ahead for a line of years and under several governments on purpose did not show any interest. The only way that Aris Poulianos could insure the interest of the Greek public was again to turn to the Justice. Finally after investigations of many years or with an order of the judicial ruler, but unfortunately not of the Ministry of Culture (which obviously refused its competency), the finding returned to the Athens National Archaeological Museum.
In December 1997, the Minister of Tourism (ex Culture) Ev. Venizelos promoted a «Parliamentary Low» (N.2557), with «photographic» amendment against the Anthropological Association of Greece. The Supreme State Council cancelled this amendment right away. This way it becomes apparent that when someone does not like certain judicial decisions changes the Law. One may wonder why the courts are not directly abolished. The Anthropological Association of Greece imposed the relative legislative orders as unconstitutional and the matter trailed before the 5th Section of the Supreme State Council.
In 1998 the Anthropological Association of Greece announces the discovery of a finding in the Ptolemais basin of the «protosculpture of Macedonia», which may be the most ancient sculpture in the world that has been found up to today. (It was broadcasted in 3-6-1999 in the news from ANT-1 channel). An appeal of solidarity takes place to the Ministry of Culture for its further studies, but the Ministry for one more time had no interest. The same year was completed the first phase for recovering of the damages that have taken place 15 years ago, because of lack of conservation to the cave and its findings .To the Museum new elucidated bilingual inscriptions of the findings were placed. The new icon that the visitors received reflected to the eulogy also to the encouraging dedications that have been written to the book of impressions.
In February 1999 it was published by «Davlos» magazine and the «Adesmeytos Typos» newspaper (14-2) a report from the University of Crete (of 1984), which with heavy characterizations, opine the work of G. Tzedakis to be unsuitable to hold any position within its teaching personnel stuff. For the same work the University of Paris in 1984 awarded him with the title of an Honorary Doctor (!) and he occupied for 15 years the position of the Director of Antiquities.
The Greek Organization of Tourism with countless hypocrisy summoned again the Anthropological Association of Greece for withholding the income from the cave, while it was perfectly known to its officials that even the last drachma was spent for operating expenses.
In spring the Supreme State Council judged illegal one other decision of the ex Minister of Culture Ev. Venizelos (1998), that forbidden the Anthropological Association of Greece the continuation of excavations at Petralona cave. The present Minister E. Papazoi did not yet manifest her intentions for the subject, besides the fact that she granted permission to Aris Poulianos to continue his studies on the cranium of the Minoan microcephalic.
In summer, A. Poulianos and the A.AG. denounced to the Justice and to the Ministry of Culture the illegal export overseas and the disappearance of tenths of skeletons of Marathon-fighters and Minoans from the palaces of Zacros. Comes in to sight the imperative need to locate and to record all the Palaeoanthropological and in General the Greek Palaeontological and Archaeological findings with the purpose of their repatriation. This is not only for ethical reasons (and beyond the fact whether Greece is, or is not an independent state), but also for practical scientific reasons it is necessary have the opportunity studying ancient Greeks gathered in one place and not delivered all over the world.
For the 2000 it is considered inevitable that the Anthropological Association of Greece turns to the European Curt for the continued violation by all means of the intellectual and in general the human rights from the G.O.T. and the Greek Ministry of Culture.
For all the obscurants, masters of illusion and positioned anti-Greeks the reasons of their attitude are obvious. The same is valid for all that their theories have been forever expelled. Besides the fact that finally for Aris Poulianos was not found any position in a Greek University, it is needless to mention that the above conquests of the Greek Science never entered the books of the Greek Universities and other Schools.
Further reasons of the war that has been declared against the A.A.G. are:
a) The A.A.G. created a task with such a big profit to the international science and at the same time with so few funds that in the today’s system this task constitutes one «bad preceding».
b) To a lot of people it is not known the often-uncontrolled activity in Greece of the foreign archaeological schools, which substantially inspect, without collaboration with the Greek scientists, the most important excavations of the country (Delphi, Delos, Olympia, Pythagorio, Keramikos, Knossos, Ancient Market of Athens etc.). Particularly annoying to these schools is the fact that a Greek scientist achieved to exceed the exclusiveness of their rights? However, although the intense palaeoanthropological problems that the archaeological excavations in Greece face (post-war have being lost or flee overseas over 30.000 human skeletons), neither foreign school reacted for this antiscientific confrontation of Aris Poulianos. Besides for sure it is not coincidence that the AA.G., one of the most important scientific institutions of the country, can not achieve the permission of excavations and support for its research for the past 20 years. Can any competent of the Greek government, or even the European Union, answer to which more important goals and how many funds were disposed at the same time to several state or other institutions?
c) The financial weakening of the A.A.G., but mainly the abundant time that was wasted by its scientific personnel for 70 up to now lawsuits, resulted the basic purpose of its enemies, revealing together their terror in front of a huge work that should be stopped in any cost.
What seems to bother even more is the introduction of new data for the comprehension of the human presence and activity in the broad area of the Aegean see, especially with motive the excavations that concerned the roots of the history of all Europe. Surely it will be one of the few cases in the world that one scientist is persecuted and insulted for his scientific theories.
The basic wonder is focused more at which hostile forces towards the Greek science could impose the pre-mentioned actions, with undisguised disregard not only for any kind of scientific deontology, but also for irrevocable judicial decisions, with the practice of pressure even to government officials?
Are the above enough to excuse the long and extravagant (hundreds million drachmas.) for the Greek state and the unjust as it was proved expedition? The relevant conclusions also as for who are hiding behind these attacks anyone can gather on their own.
However, certain is that the Anthropological Association of Greece will continue to dispose all of its forces to propel the scientific research also for the protection of the findings of the cultural heritage.
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