Buried Secrets of Keros (2020) Movie Script

The Cyclades includes
some famous tourist destinations.
Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Naxos
attract millions of tourists a year.
But I have come here
in search of a lost world.
In an abandoned Cycladic island,
an ancient secret is hiding.
Hundreds of female figurines
buried at the same spot.
We realized there is another side
to this story.
I will seek answers regarding
the secrets of an advanced culture
that may be the first in the West.
It represents the beginning
of civilization in Europe.
These enigmatic figurines
inspired Pablo Picasso.
Intact, they are worth millions.
But they were all broken.
Who destroyed them and why?
Why were they buried here?
I will travel back 5,000 years in time
to reconstruct what happened here
when the Egyptian pyramids
were being built,
in order to solve the riddle
of the broken figurines.
The National Archaeological Museum
in Athens
hosts the biggest
prehistoric collection
of Greek antiquities in the world.
As the curator of this collection,
I specialize in the Palatial Age,
the mythical world of Mycenae
and Knossos.
This is the Bronze Age,
when metallurgy changed everything.
A mystery was hiding here for years
in plain sight. I want to solve it.
My pursuit will lead me to the sea.
People come to the Cyclades to enjoy
the landscape, to swim in the sea.
But not us.
We are not here to swim, but to fly.
I am here with an international team
of scientists
from Cambridge University
and Cyprus Institute, on a mission.
The Cyclades,
at the heart of the Aegean Sea,
show the first signs
of an advanced civilization
before the Minoans and the Myceneans.
But a small, deserted island
among them, Keros,
holds something completely unexpected.
This rocky islet near Keros
was inhabited
by prehistorical Cycladeans.
An island nation that left few traces.
Without monuments or inscriptions.
But archaeologists found here
an enigmatic building complex
that covers almost completely
the islet's surface.
The walls are so large,
that can be seen from the satellite.
But we cannot excavate
in the middle
because it's actually too dangerous
to do that.
Michael Boyd has been excavating here
for the past ten years.
His team's last mission
is the digital reconstruction
of this mysterious building complex
using drones and 3D technology.
Yorgos Artopoulos and his team
will develop the 3D model
based on the data gathered
from the excavation and the drones.
How important is this
for the whole project?
It's the first steppingstone
for the next stage
which is to understand
what Daskalio looked like.
It's important to record the site
as best as we can,
so that the model is as realistic
as possible.
While Trojan walls were rising
in the North,
this rock in the South Aegean
was being covered by buildings.
Take care.
-It's steep.
-Very slippery.
So, how did they choose this site?
It's really hard to climb it.
Imagine how hard it is to live here.
It's the least sensible place
to do such an incredible
piece of civil engineering.
They really wanted to make a statement
with this.
-Marble blocks. It's a staircase.
-It comes from above.
-And here it was cracked.
-It's incredible.
-It's a monumental flight of stairs.
And a monumental disaster.
-It all collapsed inside...
-It collapsed.
-There was a drain underneath?
-I think that's the reason, yes.
I need to get the whole picture.
-Oh, my God!
-This is what it looks like up here.
This is where you end up
when you climb the stairs.
It's a small court coated with marble,
huge blocks of marble.
White marble radiating the sun.
As if you are on the Acropolis
and you face north...
-...like this.
They were trying to create something
that hadn't been seen before.
There are many things I'd love to say
but I feel like I can't say anything.
It's too impressive.
Guys, this is...
It's incredible that
you can clean
a 4,500 years old marble floor.
This is unbelievable!
This promontory is rising up
from the sea.
They built it to make it
a very monumental construction.
Whose monument was it?
We'll to do some virtual reality work
to project out from what we know
into the areas of what we don't know.
And I hope that by doing that,
we will gain some real insight.
The people who built this complex
tried to build something innovative.
But what exactly was it?
It may be the key to another mystery
that begins across the sea
on the steep coast of Keros.
The story begins with a crime.
This hole was dug
by looters 60 years ago.
After all these years,
it's still here.
It's very large, it's a big pit.
Looters often hit ancient cemeteries.
I have excavated many tombs,
and I know why.
In antiquity, people were buried
with valuable belongings.
I know exactly
what they were looking for.
Figurines like this one were made
by the Cycladeans 45 centuries ago.
The Schuster Master: Cycladic marble,
reclining female figure.
And we can open here at $1,800,000.
Their abstract forms inspired artists
like Picasso and Modigliani.
Fair warning to you all,
at 15 million dollars.
It led to outrageous prices,
and to an unprecedented
wave of luting.
This has never been broken,
so the price is no surprise at all.
However, despite their price,
the meaning these figurines had
for the people of the Cyclades
remains a mystery.
Most of them portray a thin,
naked woman
with her arms folded
under her breasts.
But we don't know who she is.
Perhaps, a mother goddess
or something entirely different.
The islanders placed them in tombs.
We find them there today.
They are very rare.
Until now,
only a few hundred have been found.
When they are intact,
these figurines are worth millions.
But they are valuable
even if they are broken.
Therefore, it's difficult to explain
what the looters left behind.
Fragments of marble figurines
and vessels scattered everywhere.
It doesn't make sense.
Why would they break them,
if they came to steal them.
Why did they leave
these valuable pieces here?
The figurines that the looters left
and the mysterious building complex
on the islet of Daskalio comprise
an archaeological riddle.
In relation
to the rest of the Cyclades,
Keros is a small
and barren island.
Why was all this found here?
I'm coming back with the man
who knows Keros better than anyone.
Lord Colin Renfrew is a living legend
of archaeology.
He got here right after the looters.
I first came to Keros in 1963.
It was the day before my birthday,
I remember it clearly,
the 24th of July.
-What a birthday! What a day!
-It was a very important day.
What were your feelings
during that visit?
Well, I could see that
it was a very important site.
So, this is the area
where the looting had taken place.
And it was very disturbed.
The looters must have found a lot.
A site survey in the Cyclades
doesn't reveal any marble.
I even found three or four figurine
fragments in this location.
Well, I wonder
what would an archaeologist think
when he sees scattered fragments
of figurines on the ground.
Initially, it did look
as if it might be a looted cemetery.
But only later did we understand
these sculptures didn't originate
from tombs
but must have been brought here
and deposited here deliberately.
And that was unexpected,
it was something new.
There are findings all over the place.
This is a very small fragment of a pot
but these concentric circles
represent the sea.
And this one here is an obsidian blade
that has come here from Milos.
Although not a cemetery,
the site where the figurines were
must have been important.
I wonder if it is connected
with the buildings on the rock.
There, archaeologists didn't find
figurines of the same type.
But they found something else.
Not as valuable,
but equally important.
Wow! Too much pottery. Everywhere.
Look at this!
-It's a huge fragment.
-We found 100,000 pieces of pot.
Amazingly, it turns out that none
of the pottery is made here on Keros.
-It's all made on different islands.
Pottery was the plastic
of ancient times.
It usually was of local origin.
But all the potsherds found in Keros
were imports from other islands.
What might that mean for the people
who lived here?
We are returning to our base
at Ano Koufonisi,
and I still have questions.
Advanced settlements like this one
emerge much later in the West,
and they are located next to farmlands
suitable for mass food production,
not on rocky islands
in the middle of the sea.
I am looking at Keros, and I wonder
what people ate on that barren island?
Where did they found food?
What they grew
is an important question.
It's also important to ask,
where did they grow it?
Surely, it couldn't be on Daskalio.
It's a rock covered with buildings.
But also in Keros...
Evi Margariti is an archaeobotanist
and deputy director
of the Keros Project.
In Keros, people grew crops
on a very small scale.
They cultivated in the Kato Koufonisi
and here on the Ano Koufonisi.
It's hard to live in this environment
which is entirely barren.
Also, the pots were coming
from elsewhere
and they possibly contained food
from elsewhere,
but surely some part of the production
was being held here.
It's the only way
they could ensure their survival.
Life on Keros would have been hard.
There is certainly a reason
for all these being built here.
This morning there was a power cut,
and the wind was so strong
that you could barely walk.
Mike, 45 centuries ago,
when one was living there,
it must have been hard.
These waters would terrify me
if I had to navigate them,
but they were very skilled seafarers.
That was their first skill.
Their skill of survival.
Daskalio is a site that depended
entirely on communication.
Without communication,
Daskalio could not operate.
Strong gusts of wind come from the sea
and sweep every inch of the rock.
Even standing is difficult.
But we must carry on with our work
if we want to understand
what this mysterious
building complex was.
Guys, the wind speed is 20 kts,
with gusts up to 25 kts.
It's a over the maximum allowable
limit for flying.
We can try and see how it goes.
If the wind is like this every day,
we may not be able to fly.
It's important to fly in any case,
otherwise the project will fall apart.
-How much time do you have?
-We've got a day or two.
There is a large area to cover.
While waiting
for the wind to calm down,
Boyd leads me to a spot
at the edge of the rock.
He thought that he would find there
a key to the mystery of Keros.
And he was right.
This is unbelievable.
Every archaeologist
needs a bit of luck in his life.
We knew there had to be a connection
with Keros,
somewhere here.
-A good choice.
-A great choice.
Because almost as soon
as we started excavating,
this line of the wall revealed itself
to be this entranceway to the site.
Did it finally have a connection
to the land?
Well, if we look across from here,
we're looking directly to the area
where the broken figurines
and all the other material was found.
The land bridge, the causeway,
that connected Keros with Daskalio
four and a half thousand years ago
was here.
One has to imagine this connected
to the shore.
Going straight across there.
There was a way to walk across,
and that created this great harbor
on both sides.
As it turns out, 5,000 years ago,
Daskalio was not an islet,
but a peninsula
forming a natural harbor.
But there was something else,
something even more unexpected.
There is a lot of marble, I see,
incorporated everywhere.
We realized
that it actually comes from Naxos,
which is ten kilometers to the north,
if you can believe that.
Naxos, there?
All this marble comes from there?
It's an incredible undertaking.
We've calculated that we're looking
at something like 10,000 tons.
But is it possible to have carried
all this material
forty-five centuries ago?
Although they had gray marble,
the people who built this place
decided to transport 10,000 tons
of white marble from Naxos,
about ten kilometers away.
It was an ambitious undertaking.
I would require hundreds of people
working incessantly for decades.
And it was done entirely by sea.
I want to find out what this means.
Kostas, heave ho!
Is it easy to travel between islands?
If the sea is calm, it's easy,
but a storm can make it difficult.
There are storms all summer.
If you only use sails, how many miles
can you travel in a day?
About 50-55 miles because it's tiring.
You can't bear using standing rigging
all day.
Despite today's idyllic view
of the Aegean Sea,
in ancient times,
things were entirely different.
About one in twenty ships
never reached destination
and in Daskalio's times,
there were no sails.
The building of marble city
on the rock,
required the biggest maritime
transport of material in prehistory.
It's the emergence of such a level
of social organization in the area.
How did they manage it?
The answer may be hidden in a place
I know well.
I am in Athens looking for the thread
that connects the pieces
of the Keros' prehistoric puzzle.
A mysterious object in our collection
may contain the answers we seek.
Maria and I have collaborated
for years.
We'll try to decipher it together.
This vessel is called pan-shaped
because it looks like a pan.
But no one knows what it really was.
On its surface,
it has something unique.
This shows what happened
in Cyclades in the third millennium.
The sea, the waves, the ship,
the prow of the ship.
Does the fish indicate a direction?
Does it point somewhere?
In these representations,
fish seem to be signs on the prow
indicating the ship's direction.
They may be weathervanes.
And all around, we can see the rows.
Their economy and transports
were based on physical strength.
-There are no sails, nothing.
-Man was everything.
This image shows a Cycladic long boat.
A ship like this could travel
about ten nautical miles per day.
This results in a network
of mandatory routes and stops
that connect all the islands together.
But a pivotal area seems to stand out.
And at its heart lies Keros.
The facts lead
to a surprising conclusion.
Keros held a key position
in the lives of the Cycladean sailors.
This explains the building
of the marble city on the bleak rock.
It might explain why the figurines
were found on Keros.
The two mysteries may be connected
to each other.
Daskalio was built like this.
The stones were tied without joints,
the houses close to each other.
And as one can easily see
on this wall,
the white stones are the local marble
of Naxos,
which was used
for the building of Daskalio.
However, other foreign items
arrived there too.
The archaeologists found
many more broken figurines.
Their studies reveal
that they also came from elsewhere.
-It is the torso we're talking about.
-This is impressive.
It's nice to have it in your hands,
to feel the weight of it.
-It's a privilege.
-It certainly is.
The marble came mainly
from Southeast Naxos,
and, of course,
the buildings on Daskalio
are made of marble much of which
was imported from Southeast Naxos.
Initially, we had wondered
if they'd been broken by the looters.
But the breaks here
are very clearly old breaks,
and you can recognize the new breaks
because they're much more shiny.
And then, of course, we worked to see
if they'd fit together.
And so it emerged
that they were deliberately broken.
And it was a very important finding,
a major realization,
that they'd been brought to the site
already broken.
How many were they?
We have more than 500 pieces
from the special deposit south,
from Keros altogether.
From Kavos we have about 900 pieces.
So, it's a big collection.
The figurines were brought to Keros
from other islands already broken.
But what was the reason for that?
And why were there so many?
Renfrew asks me to examine
more closely an interesting fragment.
I never touched something like this.
On its surface is faintly discernible
a drawing of an eye
and something resembling a crown.
But in order to understand
what I am holding in my hands,
I must cross the ocean.
I have come to the USA
to meet an expert on the study
regarding the color
of Cycladic figurines.
we'll perform a revealing experiment
in the museum of one
of the world's greatest universities.
This one is spectacular, isn't it?
-Look at that eye on the left.
Try angling the light
to different ways.
-Oh, there it is.
-There is a zig zag going down.
-Curly hair going right down the edge.
I had no idea there were traces
of paint ghosts on this figure.
I think the figures were painted
at some point.
So, that's the relief...
That's the relief caused by the paint
protecting the surface.
Elizabeth Hendrix found out
that the color was of great importance
for the figurine creators.
With the help of restorer Angela Chang
and curator Dr. Susan Ebbinghaus,
we'll examine the Cycladic collection
of Harvard Museum
to see if it holds any more secrets.
-So, what did you see first?
-First, I saw the eyes.
But as I was looking,
I saw that there were more shapes.
This red cinnabar in this dot pattern
on the forehead,
at the top of the nose
and across the cheeks.
Those dots are certainly an indication
of body modification,
either just on the marble figures
or maybe also
meant to mimic what was being painted
on actual human bodies.
Maybe tattooing. We don't really know
what they were trying to express.
Most figurines are similar,
even though
they come from different islands.
This changes
when we restore the color.
The marks give every figurine
its own identity.
They may be connected
with certain families or groups.
But tests showed that the colors
are equally exotic.
They were made with rare minerals
from the edges of the Cycladic world.
They found enough deposit somewhere,
and they brought them
where they were painting the marbles.
It was a special material for them,
well beyond what color it was.
-International trade, in a way.
-For sure.
Why did they get in that trouble,
what for?
Azurite and malachite are associated
with copper.
If you are interested
in getting copper
you need to look for these minerals.
And that means the color is the key
to help them find these resources.
-Metals live in these colorful stones?
-They do.
And these stones are used
either for colors or for metal.
Okay, it's a bond.
The reconstruction of the color
changes everything we know
about the enigmatic figurines
and the people who created them.
I am returning to Keros
in search of minerals.
Myrto, what is this?
This is a portable x-ray spectrometer.
It allows us to do
chemical composition analysis,
to see how much copper,
lead or silicon there is.
You see, this hole shows more copper
than what we see around,
so we can say that it was a fireplace
where they melted the copper.
In Daskalio,
five of this have been found.
Dr. Myrto Georgeakopoulos
specializes in ancient metallurgy.
Her findings are amazing
because they show
that copper played a key role
in the lives of the people here.
Findings show copper processing
happened in many places in Daskalio.
In almost every dig,
there is a small finding.
In some, there are many.
Besides copper, archaeologists
have found indications of silver,
lead and gold processing.
But Keros doesn't have any minerals.
This means that the rare minerals
were brought here
via the maritime network
that connected the islands.
It's hard for us to imagine today
the rarity and the importance
of metals in ancient times.
I believe that copper is the key
to understanding Daskalio.
It's time to examine the metallurgic
findings of the excavations.
The weapons, the tools,
and several stone molds.
So, summing up all the evidence
we have seen so far,
what is the significance of metals
in Daskalio?
All over the site
they're doing metal working.
It's something we've never seen.
The first high-tech industries.
It sounds like
a sophisticated technique,
and I suppose
that not everybody could do it.
No, you need all sorts
of esoteric knowledge,
which is not obvious to people
and, also,
it's kind of a magical thing
because you transform something
from one form into another.
This is a mold for a dagger.
When you're wearing an object
like this, people will notice it.
You are somebody and,
more importantly,
you're someone who is involved
with Daskalio,
you've been to Daskalio,
you are part of these great networks
which are moving people
and materials around the Cyclades,
all sort of centered on Daskalio.
The evidence lead
to an unexpected conclusion.
It seems that Keros hides
an unknown until today,
a technological center
advanced for its day.
Rare minerals were being brought here
from all over the Aegean Sea
to become weapons and tools.
This explains how and why this islet
transformed into a marble pyramid.
It may explain why so many figurines
were found here.
But it doesn't explain why
they were found broken.
Keros excavations revealed something
much more important than a settlement.
The previously unknown site
may have been one
of the most advanced and important
centers of Cycladic culture.
The best way to understand
what was happening there,
is to travel back in time to 2,500 BC.
By means of technology,
I will walk on Daskalio
and I will see how it looked
45 centuries ago.
It's time to go to Cyprus.
The 3D model that was made based
on the data from the drones is ready.
This is amazing!
Let's go a little higher.
And from here I can go over there.
Come on, lightsaber!
These are the really big northern
retaining walls.
Oh, here we have the big paving.
I have set my foot down here.
Okay, I want to go to the top.
I can rise above the settlement.
This is the bridge that leads across
to the sanctuary.
The entire city of Daskalio
in front of us!
The difficulty was to understand
how to place the buildings.
They filled the retaining wall
with dirt to make it entirely flat,
and they built the houses on that.
The creation and maintenance
of this settlement
made them to work together.
This means
that there was a greater purpose.
There was a master planning
to this settlement
and that's why
it is called proto-urban.
What was this place?
Was it a typical settlement
of the Cyclades?
Well, the answer must be no.
We have a lot of activities
going on at the site,
which we can detect, like metallurgy
and the other craft working practices.
But where were these guys eating
and sleeping?
We do have a food refuge
for domestic activities,
they were preparing food,
and we have evidence from seeds,
animal bones, shells,
but in such a small scale
that it makes us wonder,
is this actually a site that domestic
every day activities take place
as we find out in other sites?
The answer is, we are exploring it
but it doesn't seem very likely.
It's actually a place that is built
for a special purpose.
And that special purpose relates back
to the themes of metallurgy,
voyaging, the people coming
from all the different islands.
Is it a center? A connecting link?
I think it's both really.
We have all these broken figurines
on Keros.
So, the meaning of those figurines
was something that was shared widely
throughout the Cyclades
but then it was brought together
at Keros.
This folded arm figure
we don't really know what it means.
But I think it was the icon,
the symbol for the Cycladic culture,
for the Cycladic communities.
After years of study and research,
what do you think happened here?
It seems
to have been a central sanctuary
for the entire Cycladic island region.
There were rituals in the villages,
the breakage probably took place
in the village,
and the breakage seems
to have been a gesture of respect,
not of hostility.
They came once a year or every three
periodically at a major festival
and they left their offerings,
these broken objects, here,
and they probably
also at Daskalio opposite,
they had some rituals
they performed there as well.
That brought the Cycladic islanders
together in a sense.
That was the formation
of Cycladic civilization.
So, before the discovery of this site,
none of these was known or suspected?
We've never understood
the Cycladic civilization very well.
This social center seems the key
to our understanding
of the early Cycladic world.
We see these islands joining together
to produce a culture,
and produce these marble objects,
these wonderful Cycladic sculptures.
And it was also the beginning
of metallurgy.
The sanctuary here at Kavos
and Daskalio
can be claimed as the oldest maritime
sanctuary in the world.
It represents the beginning
of civilization in Europe.
The figurines that Renfrew found
must have been the remnants
of an unknown prehistoric ritual
that gathered here the inhabitants
of Cyclades.
We may never discover the meaning
of the marble figurines
but we now know that they were symbols
of identity for the islanders.
Keros helped Cycladeans conquer
the Aegean Sea for about 1,000 years.
It was a source
of myths that are lost forever.
Centuries before the mythical palaces
of Crete and Peloponnese,
the seed of a new way
of life was planted here.
It was the dawn of a new world.
The birth of the first civilization
in Europe.