Paros and the Parian sanctuary on Despotiko



Presentation by  Dr. Yannis Kourayos, Griechisches Ministerium für Bildung, Religion, Kultur, Tourismus und Sport.

The island of Paros lies at the center of the Cyclades, on the course of busy commercial sea-routes. During the Archaic period, the Parian state flourished due to its strategic position in the Aegean and the exportation of mar- velous Parian marble. By the end of the 6th century B.C., the island’s wealth enabled its residents to engage in an ambitious construction programme that included public buildings and temples. In order to expand their territory and stabilize their position within the Aegean against their rivals, they also established a sanctuary on Despotiko, a small uninhabited is land near Antiparos. In 1997, the sanctuary of Despotiko was identified by an archae- ologist at the Greek Ministry of Culture, Yannos Kouraios. Since then, systematic excavations have been conducted annually. After a decade of excavations, an extensive Archaic sanctuary of Pan-Hellenic scope dedicated to Apollo and probably also to Artemis was brought to light. The complex comprises eleven buildings, a circular tower, and other structures at the tip of the peninsula. The variety of imported objects found at the site proves that it had relations with leading Archaic trading centres, such as Corinth, Attica, Ionia, and the regions of the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, more than thirty fragments of Archaic sculpture have been recovered, particularly fragments of kouroi. Both the quantity and the quality of the statues offer clear testimony of the glory, splendour, and wealth of the santuary.

Where: Universität Basel, Kollegiengebäude, Petersplatz 51, Hörsaal 115

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