Displayed on its own in a glass case in one of the later rooms of the excellent Archaeological Museum in Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, is an arresting clay head. It was found near Siteia, where it had been left at a shrine as a votive deposit. The young man’s lips are slightly curved in the famous ‘Archaic smile’. They would originally have been painted red, his eyebrows black and his enormous eyes probably dark as well. His features call to mind those of someone very famous. A frivolous idea? Perhaps. But once it’s occurred to you, it’s hard not to stroll the museum’s halls without ‘Pretty Young Thing’ ringing in your head.
The new edition of Blue Guide Crete is published February 2010.