Greco-Roman statue returned to Gerona
Restored Asclepius is back at Empúries ruins 100 years after it was uncovered17 March 2008
EMPURIES - To celebrate the 100th year of its discovery, the ancient Greco-Roman statue of the God Asclepius returned to the site where it was uncovered on Saturday: the Catalan town of Empúries, gateway to Iberia for the ancient cultures.
The 2.2-metre high marble statue from the second century BC was uncovered in Empúries, Gerona province, in 1909 and was transferred to Barcelona's Archaeological Museum where its arms and 85 fragments uncovered in the excavation were finally restored last year. A century later, the repatriation of Asclepius, Greek demigod of medicine and healing, was no small affair in the historic town. Hundreds of citizens lined up to witness its "prodigal son's" return, which two generations before sparked a bonanza for local fragment seekers who sold their finds to tourists.
Archaeologists currently continue excavating the first Greek settlement in Iberia, which the Romans claimed as their own four centuries later. Experts believe that only 25 percent of the site's treasures have been discovered.
The statue's return marks the beginning of an extensive 100th anniversary programme to include conferences, classic theatre, and music festivals at the famous site.
[Copyright El Pais / NATALIA IGLESIAS 2008]