Faculty of Music Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (EKPA)
Stelios Psaroudakes, Assistant Professor in Ancient Greek Music, Faculty of Music Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Christos Terzis, PhD, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens / Independent Researcher
In spring 1981, in the area of Daphne (33 Olgas St.), during a rescue excavation, carried out by the archaeologist Angelos Liangouras, two adjacent graves were discovered. One of them contained a skeleton and four white-ground lekythoi. The other grave was richly adorned with parts of a papyrus roll, a polyptych, writing utensils and three musical instruments. The complete content of the two graves is currently on permanent exhibition in a special show case at the Archaeological Museum of Peiraias. The two burials have been dated as the Classical period, ca. 430 BC. The find has been regarded as one of special significance, as it comprises a ‘closed system’ on the one hand, while, on the other, it affords unique information on both the writing practice and the music of the Classical period. With the permission of the 26thEphorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, the team has undertaken the study and publication of the three musical instruments (harp, lyre, aulos). Because of the uniqueness of the instruments, the aforementioned organological study will include physical modeling and the creation of exact replicas of the instruments.
The project of reconstructing and experimenting with the three Daphne instruments was divided into several ‘fronts’: a) study of the remains of the instruments at the Peiraias Museum (measurements, photographs, digital microscopic examination), and of the Excavation Archive at the National Museum; b) comparative study of all extant analogous instruments (lyres and auloi); c) study of the ancient literary and iconographic sources for relevant organological information (especially the iconography of the trigonon); d) study of the relevant international bibliography; e) purchase of tools and materials for the reconstructions of the instruments; f) experimenting with the replicas, in order to investigate aspects of tuning and playing techniques; g) composing an essay for each instrument, with an analytical exposition of the research process and conclusions; h) use of the replicas in our running educational programmes for elementary and high schools of this country.