Adventure Travel McColls (ATM$) 2017-2018 travel blog

A view of the Parthenon on Acropolis hill from Keramiekos cemetary

A burial site since 1200 BC, these unmatched peices are modern at...

In situ model tombs

In situ model from the Street of Tombs

The real thing - marble bull frm one of the larger monuments

In situ model from the Street of Tombs - hound

The real thing - a hound was an unusual sculptural choice for...

In situ model - grave of two sisters

Grave relief of sisters Demetria and Pamphile 325 - 310 BC


In situ model of a tomb with a typical lekythos - a...

The real thing - a grave lekythos

Another lekythos this time showing the common handshake motif

An image of how the excavated marble sculptures were moved

Grave statue of a Siren from a pedestal of a grave enclosure...

In situ model of a relief from the Street of Tombs

The real thing - Charon waits to ferry 2 men & a...

Base of a grave stele showing a procession of horses 560 -...

Tomb relief of Athenian calvaryman Dexileos missing the originol bronze weapons &...

Grave relief of Ampharete with her grandchild

Sphinx 560 - 550 BC was crowning a grave stele by Sacred...

The Sacred Gate Kouros 600 - 590 BC

The handshake motif is common in Greek grave markers as it signifies...

A fierce lion found south of the Street of Tombs 4th c...

Grave relief of Euphoros from an enclosure near the Sacred Way about...

Grave stele with common funerary elrmentd loutrophoros, lekythoi and sphinxes 420 -...

After 317 BC only small inscribed columns or blocks were permitted

A section of the 5th century walls of Athens

The Pompeion - A large collonaded court built about 400 BC

The Pompeion - as it would have looked before it was destroyed...

A neighbourhood of potters surrounded the cemetary hence CERAMICos

The Eridanos River, now dry, served as the water & sewage system...

Free range turtle

Free range turtle

Keramiekos Cemetery is just outside the walls that bordered the ancient city of Athens. Here lay the prominent citizens who were honoured with a burial at public expense. Thus, their tombs and markers were far above the norm. For this reason, many of the relics are now in Athens’ premier archaeology museum.

Even so, the small Kerameikos museum houses a handful of beautiful originals. Also, full-scale replicas of the museum pieces are placed in-situ, giving visitors a true sense of the layout and scale of this important historical cemetery.

The most touching is a 430-420 BC relief from a grave near the Sacred Gate. It depicts a woman named Ampharete with her grandchild. The inscription reads;

“I hold here the beloved child of my daughter,

which I held on my knees when we were alive

and saw the light of the sun

and now, dead, I hold it dead.”

Whereas we had become accustomed to cats roaming among the architectural sites - as if they are Athens’ answer to cat sanctuaries - this was not the case at Kerameikos. We saw not a single cat, strangely. Rather, we had the surprise of finding wild turtles making their way among the ruins. This got me thinking; why are cats “feral” but other creatures “free-range” or “wild”?

Feral Cats in Athens

Even around the busy streets of tourist markets and restaurants, and on embassy row there are clean & well-fed (looking) cats casually making their way about Athens.

At lunch one day a sweet little tuxedo kitty sat near us, a silent as a sphinx. So polite it was that I tossed over a small piece of my chicken souvlaki. The cat daintily ate it up and then continued to sit silently the whole time we ate our meal.

On the other hand, almost immediately after my chicken toss another cat was at our side. Indeed we could hear it before we could see it. This noisy beggar was highly annoying reminder of what I very well know and ought not to have disregarded; Do NOT feed the wildlife.

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