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Siatista August 2011

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The Exhibition: The Historical Paleontological Collection of Siatista

On Thursday August 18th, 2011, the Historical Paleontological Collection of Siatista (HPCS) was inaugurated by the Mayor of Voio in Siatista, Greek Macedonia. It is open to the public now. On this page you will see several pictures of my last trip, as the photographer of the team headed by Professor Evangelia Tsoukala of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki and Dick Mol, the President of Mammuthus Club International and Research associate at the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam, for the development and grand opening ceremony.

We left the Netherlands for Thessaloniki with Malev, the Hungarian Airlines, on Monday August 15th and returned on Friday, August 19th, 2011. In this short time period many things happened. The high light was the opening ceremony of the permanent exhibition with interesting speeches by politicians and scientists. More than 250 people attended.

The HPCS is an old paleontological collection. It is built up of fossils, mainly of prehistoric proboscideans (trunk-bearing animals like mammoths and elephants), discovered in the area of Siatista since 1888. Since two years Dick Mol got an interest in this important collection. Together with Evangelia Tsoukala he started working on the collection and an idea was initiated by Dick to put these fossils on display. Mr Kosmidis, at that time Mayor of Siatista, supported the idea to make an attractive display: not only fossils, but the story these fossils tell us and all we can learn from them to get a better understanding of our living planet. The collection is, according Dick Mol, a very important collection because it contains a molar fragment of a stegodon. The stegodon is an extinct elephant-like animal which was very common during the Pleistocene in Asia. The most western record is from Israel in the Middle East. The Siatista specimen is so far, the first and only record in Europe. It is on display in the HPCS. A special show case was developed devoted to this rare specimen.

Dick Mol and Vangelis Vlachos, the designers of the exhibition, have developed a very attractive display for each show case, explaining the fossils and their story. The design is very informative, colourful and large sized. A lot can been seen and learned in this 88 square meters small exhibition. So to say a Dick Mol story: Informative and easy to understand.

There are two eye-catchers in the exhibition: a scale model (1:3,5) of the extinct straight-tusked elephant (Elephas antiquus, quite common in the fossil collection) by the Dutch artist Remie Bakker of Rotterdam and a more than 5 meters long (!) panorama picture of beautiful Siatista in the mountains. This panorama picture is, so to say, some public interaction in the exhibition. Locals can easy recognise their own houses in Siatista and they like to point to them, as I noticed many times during their first visit on Thursday evening. See the images below. I feel very proud that this picture was made by me in the spring of last year and that it was chosen to be covering the dividing wall in the exhibition room as the land that once was the realm of Mammoths, Mastodons and Elephants.

The opening ceremony was extremely busy. More than 200 people attended, amongst others, children, from Siatista and far away. Remie Bakker, the teamís artist was invited to model with children their own mammoth. It was a big success as can be seen in the pictures below. Now, everybody is waiting for the exhibition to be extended with the partial skull and tusks of the so-called Kaloneri Elephant (a straight-tusked elephant that was put on display in the new town hall of Kaloneri, not far from Siatista, two years ago, but now closed because of re-organisation). It would fit well in the adjacent room of the HPCS. If ever you are in Northern Greece, in the area of Kozani, please, remind Siatista and its original and unique exhibition on paleontology. It is worthwhile, I am sure!
With Malev via Budapest to Thessaloniki. Excellent company!
With Malev via Budapest to Thessaloniki. Excellent company!
Boeing 737-7Q8 (HA-LOR) was our plane
Boeing 737-7Q8 (HA-LOR) was our plane
View over Hoofddorp
View over Hoofddorp
River Donau through Budapest
River Donau through Budapest
City-center of Budapest
City-center of Budapest
Colourfull
Colourfull
The new area at the Ferihegy (BUD) airport
The new area at the Ferihegy (BUD) airport
Typical Greec Macedonian landscape
Typical Greec Macedonian landscape
The village Siatista
The village Siatista
August 15th, the day of the Panagia
August 15th, the day of the Panagia
Horse with traditional pilgrim riders outfit
Horse with traditional pilgrim riders outfit
Festivities everywhere
Festivities everywhere
Traditional music
Traditional music
Great sounds
Great sounds
Yound and old are in the fest
Yound and old are in the fest
Another pilgrim horse
Another pilgrim horse
Families from all over Greece meet in their hometown
Families from all over Greece meet in their hometown
Siatista and dancing
Siatista and dancing
Till early in the morning there's a big party
Till early in the morning there's a big party
Many people in traditional (pilgrim) cloths
Many people in traditional (pilgrim) cloths
Siatista as seen from the balcony of the Iberis hotel
Siatista as seen from the balcony of the Iberis hotel
One of the hills of Siatista
One of the hills of Siatista
The Trampantzeion Gymnasion now housing the Historical Paleontological Collection of Siatista
The Trampantzeion Gymnasion now housing the Historical Paleontological Collection of Siatista
The entrance of the Trampantzeion Gymnasion building of 1888
The entrance of the Trampantzeion Gymnasion building of 1888
Dick Mol and Wilrie van Logchem working in the museum
Dick Mol and Wilrie van Logchem working in the museum
together with the local carpenter
together with the local carpenter
and students of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
and students of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Fitting the panels to the walls
Fitting the panels to the walls
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