Sometimes, archeologally-inspired news on ancient Hellas is scarse, and sometimes it just floods in. It's been a little over a week since my last round-up, but it's time already for a new one. In this edition: news on the restoration of the theatre of Sparta, the Greek Central Archaeological Council officially lists Megara as preservation site, and the ancient Hellenic treasures are coming to Bulgaria, Washington and LA.

Study for restoration of theatre at Sparta completed

In the last round-up, I spoke about the planned restauration works on the theatre of Sparta, a unique feat of theatrical engineering. As I said then: the Spartan theatre is unique in that it had a mobile stage, as the theatre used to host several events. The stage was kept in a special 'case' under a hangar built at the west lane. It used to be a prosperous theater, done up in local white marble. It was one of the most important theaters around in Classical times, and thus the Central Archaeological Council has recently given the green light to start restoring the structure, starting with a careful evaluation of the monument. It seems this evaluation is now completed. The Archaeological News Network heads with the following:

"Ms Mendoni said, that the implementation of the first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2014 and will be complete in 2015. Long term, the renovation of the theater could continue, possibly by integrating archaeological material from future excavations. As part of a broader effort to project the heritage of Sparta, restoration work in ancient Acropolis is still in progress while, as noted by the district commissioner of Peloponnese, Petros Tatoulis, the excavations on the lot that will be erected in the new Archaeological Museum Sparta, are about to start."

The project has a budget of around 5 million and will be implemented by the Directorate of Restoration of Ancient Monuments, Ministry of Culture. Meanwhile the Peloponnese region offers €100,000 in order for excavations to be carried in the auditorium, where there is the possibility for new findings to come to light.

Greek council lists Megara as preservation site
Megara (Μέγαρα) is an ancient city in Attica. In ancient times, it was one of the four districts of Attica, and an important trade port specialized in the exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. In Classical times, Megara was an early dependency of Corinth, and is located 42 kilometres (26 miles) from Athens in the southwestern part of West Attica Prefecture. It's currently inhabited by roughly 30.000 people, and home to a wealth of ancheological opportunities, many of which are centered around a 4.000-hectare area of land which the Greek Central Archaeological Council (KAS) on Wednesday unanimously voted on to be listed for protection as an archaeological site. The Archaeological News Network reports:

Despite initial concerns regarding the size of the site and the difficulties that its full excavation would entail, KAS on Wednesday said that the protection of significant antiquities found at the site merit its full protection. Such significant finds include Roman-era baths, an aqueduct, impressive fortifications, graves containing valuable burial offerings and an ancient agora, among others."

In the final bits of news of the day, two expositions of ancient Hellenic art have been announced, on top of the Canadian showing of over 500 treasures of Hellenic antiquity in 2015. The National Institute of Archaeology with the museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with the National Archaeological Museum, Athena and Numismatic Museum in Athens, will present an international exhibition in the Central Hall of the National Museum of Archaeology in sofia, Bulgaria, from November 8th, 2013 till February 9th, 2014. It will be titled 'Leaving a Mark on History. Treasures from Greek Museums'.

The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections revealing some of the most important aspects of the life in ancient Hellas: Section A traces the  'history from the prehistoric period focusing on the aspiration and need of man to distinguish and identify', section Β gives a vivid picture of the well-known Greek domination at sea, section Γ puts emphasis on the tribute of the Hellenic society to the establishment of the democracy and consolidation of its essential features--freedom of speech, bold expression of judgement and opinions on public issues, section Δ is the Olympic ideal, section E includes historic events of universal significance that left a durable trace in history, and Section ΣΤ consists of items used in the religious life from the ancient Dodecatheon to the spread of Christianity. Read more on the website of the museum.

The second exhibition takes place from October 6, 2013, through March 2, 2014 in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, where it will be displayed from April 9 through August 25, 2014. The exhibition is titled 'Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections' and features some 170 rare and important works, drawn exclusively from Hellenic collections, in order to offer 'a fascinating glimpse of the soul and splendor of the mysterious Byzantine Empire'. The focus is on the development of Byzantine visual culture from the fourth to the 15th century, beginning with the ancient pagan world of the late Roman Empire and continuing to the opulent and deeply spiritual world of the new Christian Byzantine Empire. From the Archaeological News Network:

"Recognized masterpieces, many never lent before to the United States, are on view with newly discovered and previously unpublished objects from recent archaeological excavations in Greece. Sculptures, icons, mosaics, frescoes, manuscripts, metalwork, jewelry, glass, embroideries, and ceramics are being loaned by the Benaki Museum, Byzantine and Christian Museum, National Archaeological Museum, and Numismatic Museum, all in Athens, and the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, as well as from collections in Argos, Corinth, Crete, Kastoria, Mistra, Patmos, Rhodes, and Sparta, among others."

While the exhibition features Roman and Christian art exclusively, some of the pieces might be valuable enough for Hellenists to make the trip to Washington or Los Angeles.

Image credit: Theater of Sparta: Greek Reporter via the Archaeology News Network, Manegra: ekathimerini via the Archaeology News Network,