Timeline of Greek antiquities, 3000 B.C. - 146 B.C.
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3000-2000 B.C 2000-1400 B.C. 1580-1120 B.C. 1250-800 B.C. 800-480 B.C. 480-323 B.C. 323-146 B.C.

Greece, Early Bronze Age (3000-2000 B.C) Greek antiquities

The first objects scholars call Greek are from the Cyclades, a group of islands in the Aegean surrounding the sacred island Delos. The few pieces of art we have from this period were found in the rubble of simple stone tombs.

The ancient harp player below, is among the oldest Cycladic works of art. Like much Egyptian art, it is designed in silhouette. Scholars believe it was inspired by a clay prototype. Executing it in marble would have been a more difficult task technically. Much of the sculpting is rough and sharp, but the image is still effective.

Cycladic harpist, ca. 2800 B.C, 29.2 cm.; Parian or Naxian marble, British Museum, London, U.K.

The use of the Cycladic statutes is still being investigated by archaeologists. They may have been owned by the person whose tomb they are excavating or they may have been made just for the burial. Most of the women are depicted as standing statuettes, as in the case below. The tombs of men usually have a statue like the harpist above. The simple lines and abstraction remind many scholars of the work of the twentieth century sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1856-1957).

Cycladic, female marble figure, ca. 2600-2400 B.C., attributed to the Bastis Master, 62.79 cm., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Marble Cycladic kandila, early bronze age (ca. 2800 B.C); 22.6 cm., probably used for religious rituals; they are named after the oil lamps used in Greek Orthodox churches.

Twin pxides; Cycladic, early Bronze Age, ca. 3000 - 2800 B.C.; 6.4 x 20.3 cm.

Head, marble, Cycladic, Early Bronze Age, ca. 2600 - 2400 B.C.; 15 cm.

Beaker, marble, Cycladic, Early Bronze Age, ca. 3000 - 2800 B.C.; 22.1 cm.