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Press Office

Athens, 30 May 2023

Constantine Tassoulas: Congratulations to Ephorate of Antiquities of Ioannina and Ministry of Culture for "adoption" of Dodona lead tablets by UNESCO

The President of the Hellenic Parliament, on the occasion of the inclusion of the lead tablets of Dodona in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, made the following statement: 

The Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ioannina deserve our warm congratulations for their recent success to have the Dodona lead tablets included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. These are small pieces of lead strips on which questions by the pilgrims to the oracle were inscribed, as well as the anwer they received. Overall 4.216 such tablets have been discovered and published, dated (based on the handwriting) from the end of the 6th century BC to the mid-2nd century BC. 

The inclusion of the lead tablets of Dodona in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, a programme that seeks to preserve humanity's most significant documentary heritage, is expected to provide many benefits to this unique archaeological group, through its global visibility in the framwork of the international organisation. 

This success was the result of the dilligent and commendable work of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ioannina, the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage and the Directorate of Pre-Historic and Classical Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture. The nomination file was forwarded to UNESCO in November 2021, in cooperation with the Hellenic National Commission of UNESCO. 

It then went through the programme's necessary stages of evalutation and finally the lead tablets were included in the register by a decision taken in the framework of the 216th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board. A short presentation of the lead tablets of the Dodona Oracle, along with the other new entries in the register, is available on the programme's website. 

Many were those who helped bring this request to fruition, most notably the Region of Epirus and the Governor Al. Kahrimanis, the local community of Dodona, the Municipality and the Mayor Chr. Dakaletsis, the late Mayor of Ioannina M. Elisaf, the late President of the Acropolis Museum Professor D. Padermalis, the Regional Association of Municipalities of Epirus, the "Ancient Dodona" Cultural Movement, as well as distinguished Greeks and foreign academics. 

Homer in the Odyssey reveals to us that Odysseus, prior to his return to Ithaca, came to Dodona to receive Zeus' advice on how to return home, openly or secretly. The rest is history. So it is that today we openly and publicly congratulate the public entities and persons who contributed to this great recognition and promotion of Dodona, which makes us hope, and reasonably so, that the same success will be noted with the corresponding registrations of Nikopolis and Zagori.


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