The casts of three antique marbles reliefs returned to the archeological museum of Thasos a few days ago. They were displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris since they were found during excavations in the so-called Passage of Theories in the second half of 19th century.

Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Kavala-Thasos, Stavroula Dadaki, pointed out, “the three reliefs were found fallen in the corridor, in 1864, by the archaeologist Emmanuel Miller, in the first substantial excavation attempted in Thasos. Inscribed stones bearing the names of lords of the island were found along, hence the name theory he gave.

The reliefs occupied a central position in the Passage of Theories, an important and expensively constructed structure (walls of marble orthostates) at the northeast corner of the Agora. It takes its name from the list of Theoroi inscribed on the wall, but in addition to its function as a passageway it was apparently an important place of cult.

The reliefs were transferred to Paris and had been on display at the Louvre Museum since then. “The plaster casts,” said Dadaki, “were made in the Réuniondes Musée Nationaux of the Association of National Museums of France and were kept in the warehouses of the Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities department of the Louvre Museum. cultural and private monuments of the Louvre “.

The Passage of the Theories was a corridor of two parallel  marble walls, 11m long, formed in the NE corner of the ancient market of Thasos, Agora, and connected the latter with the slopes of the citadel, where the ancient sanctuaries, Artemisio, Dionysio and Poseidonion

In the middle of one wall was a marble slab with relief figures depicting Apollo with a guitar in his hand to be crowned by a female figure on one side and three Nymphs on the other side of a rectangular recess. The second plaque depicted Mercury and a female figure and the third the Three Graces. They are date between 480 BC -465 BC and are important evidence of the sculptural art that flourished on the island since archaic times.

The actions for the enrichment of the permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Thasos with the casts of these sculptures, started in 2011 at the request by the then mayor of Thasos Costas Hadjiemmanuil and on the occasion of the celebration for the completion of 100 years of excavations at the French Arch island of Thasos.

Moves in the direction to return them to the island continued in the following years both by the administrations of the municipality of Thasos, the directorates of the Ephorate of Antiquities and in cooperation of the French Archaeological School.

With funding from the French School of Archeology in Athens and a marble company based on the island, the slabs were transported and handed over to the Archaeological Museum for inclusion in its permanent exhibition, following approval.

The French Archaeological School and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Kavala-Thasos, are planning a series of event to honor the return, scheduled for summer, if the pandemic conditions allow.