G. Despinis - T. Stefanidou-Tiveriou - E. Voutiras, Catalogue of the sculptures in the Archaeological Museum of Salonica
The Archaeological Museum of Salonica holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of ancient sculpture in Greece. This is caused by the fact that the holdings of the collection derive from a wide geographical range. Most of the sculptures emerged in and around the city of Salonica, but objects found in various sites of the ancient landscapes of Macedonia and Thracia were also added to the Museum's inventory. Therefore it is possible to regard the collection as reasonably representative for the sculpture of the north-Aegaean area up to the Propontis to some extent. Chronologically the sculptures cover the complete range of ancient art, from the archaic period (2nd half of the 6th century BC) all the way up to the late antiquity (4th and 5th century AD). Therefore, in 1989, three professors of archaeology (G. Despinis, Th. Stefanodou-Tiveriou and E. Voutiras) initiated a research program in order to gather the complete collection of antiquities of the Archaeological Museum of Salonica, as well as to catalogue and publish it. Thanks to the active support of Ioulia Vokotopolou, the ephor in charge, the required permission from the central administrative bureau for the antiquity service (ΚΑΣ) was soon granted so that it was possible to tackle the project in 1990. Until 1998, the gathering and studying of the material was funded by a public research program. Additional financial assistance was rendered by the Cast Museum of the University of Salonica. The superintendents as well as the staff of the museum always helped benevolently. Since 1998, Prof. B. Schmidt-Dounas has also been working in the editorial department and the group of contributors has extended to doctoral candidates within the department of Archaeology in the University as well as to employees of the Archaeological Service.
The main goal of the project is to publish a scientific catalogue with all sculptures of the Archaeological Museum of Salonica. So far, four volumes are planned. The first was published in 1997, the second in 2003. The third volume is in preparation.
Meanwhile, the register, which is kept in the Cast Museum of the University of Salonica along with the photographical archive, contains about 1500 entries. The objects were newly measured, described and recorded. The sculptures were photographed from several different perspectives, whenever possible from all four sides. The information concerning their origin was systematically rechecked to the extent available.
Besides preparing the catalogue, it seemed useful to use a database, in order to make it easier to use the archive and to enable the connection with similar projects. This task was tackled in cooperation with the CoDArchLab. Consequently, the Arachne website made the part of the archive that was already published electronically available to an even wider public.