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Dimitris Plantzos


Dimitris Plantzos is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Department of History and Archaeology (Section of Archaeology and History of Art) of the School of Philosophy, at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens. His research interests include ancient Greek art, archaeological theory, and modern receptions of classical culture. He has authored several monographs on classical art and its reception, as well as numerous articles and studies published in local and international scholarly journals, collective volumes, special journal issues, and university blogs. He has written entries for the Macmillan Dictionary of Art and the Oxford Classical Dictionary. He is the director of the Research Institute for Digital Humanities at the University of Athens, co-director of the Argos Orestikon University Excavation, and a member of the international archaeological mission to the Ptolemaic Cemetery of Shatby in Alexandria, Egypt.


Celebrating the completion of a three-year long project on the construction of knowledge in archaeology and art history in Southeastern Europe, this paper turns its attention to what may nowadays showcase itself as an “alterative” take on local / national history, but often enough emerge as the new orthodoxy. Part of the “Balkan disease” that has seemingly afflicted national(ist) historiographies across the region, a series of glorious, yet often elusive ancestors – Thracians, Dacians, Illyrians, Paeonians, Dardanians, Macedonians, not to mention the Greeks themselves – have been thoroughly imagined, imaged, and in the end archaeologically constructed to serve as vehicles of present-day politics. The aim of this paper is to draft a set of conclusions on the mechanisms through which such invention and rehabilitation of ancestral excellence has been effected, and on the roles state archaeology has played in this process (or not, as the case may be). It is upon such grassroots archaeopolitics, the paper maintains, that local, national, and regional histories tend to be mounted in our era.