A Review of The Lost World of Old Europe

By admin

Neal Acherson in the London Review of Books [Vol. 32 No. 15 · 5 August 2010]writes about The Lost World of Old Europe, an exhibition originating at ISAWand which is just ending its run at the Ashmolean Museum:

Poor Europa! The competition to give her an ancestry has been raging for generations. Now the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford – the new, gorgeously refashioned Ashmolean, which reopened last November with 39 new galleries – has joined in.[*] The Lost World of Old Europe reveals a brilliant, imaginative, precocious culture that arose in south-eastern Europe in the late Neolithic period, the Copper Age, but after flourishing for several thousand years, failed and was forgotten...

...The Oxford exhibition is small, but utterly spectacular. Its objects – the figurines, the painted ceramics – are irresistible. Its message adds a new page to the conventional history of ‘civilisation’. Some 7000 years ago, in south-eastern Europe around the lower Danube, groups of farmers with loosely similar ways of life settled in an area reaching from modern Bulgaria and Romania across into Ukraine. In the transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, they flourished and multiplied. They evolved an elaborately beautiful material culture of painted pottery, goldwork and beads. They modelled and treasured clay figurines of women – and a few men. They mined copper and gold, and imported fashionable seashells from the distant Aegean. They seem to have lived in peace and equality...

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From October 2010 – January 2011, the exhibition will be in the Stathatos Mansion, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens