New 6th century BC finds by excavation works on Despotiko island in Greece

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New 6th century BC finds by excavation works on Despotiko island in GreeceFive ancient big buildings that were connected with the operation of the port were unearthed. Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades

New finds that complete the picture on the buildings' architecture around the Apollo temple on the uninhabited island of Despotiko, west of Antiparos island revealed excavations and restoration works that were held recently on the island, according to ANA.

The excavation focused on areas surrounding the temple as well as on buildings outside of it while very important were the finds of the short research on the islet Tsimintiri.

The surprise of this year's excavation was discovered on Tsimintiri. The islet is located between Antiparos and Despotiko and in the ancient years it was united with Despotiko and probably with Antiparos. In 2011, four buildings were found and this year the search continued at the northeastern part of the islet. Under the dense vegetation and very close to the coast were located five big buildings.

The size, the construction and the position of the structures indicated that the buildings were probably connected with the operation of the port.

The works were carried out between 3 May and 5 July.

The site of Mandra contains an extensive sanctuary complex dedicated to Apollo that reached its apex during the Late Archaic period and the 6th century BC in particular. 

When the 2018 excavation works on the uninhabited Despotiko island in the Aegean were concluded, archaeologists spoke of priceless findings that tell more about life in Ancient Greece.

Despotiko is a small island west of Antiparos, and is a popular tourist destination. Excavations on Despotiko commenced 20 years ago and continue as real archaeological treasures are unearthed.

Last year’s works ran from May 28 to July 6, under the direction of archaeologist Yiannos Kouragios, of the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities that belongs to the Ministry of Culture. Archaeologists and students from Greek and foreign universities took part in the excavations.

"This year's excavation focused on the areas surrounding the main temple and Buildings Z and R," the Ministry of Culture said in a statement on Monday, according to ANA. "The results of the season were particularly illuminating in terms of topography and how the ancient temple was laid out," it added.

Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades 

 

The principal findings so far are the Apollo sanctuary and surrounding buildings, along with many antiquities, all dating from the archaic period.

Last year’s excavation concentrated on areas around the sanctuary and Buildings Z and P.

Its results were especially enlightening for the topography and organization of the archaic sanctuary. Research continued in the area south of the archaic temple, where the auxiliary facilities of the sanctuary are being developed, the so-called Eastern Complex.

4.	ΑΝΑΣΚΑΦΗ ΣΤΟ ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΚΟ ΣΥΓΚΡΟΤΗΜΑ (copyright ΕΦΟΡΕΙΑ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΤΗΤΩΝ ΚΥΚΛΑΔΩΝ)

Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades 


By 2017, 12 spaces of a total area of 180 square meters had come to light. This year, another large space of visible dimensions of 12 x 3 meters was partially unveiled, having a floor made of large-scale splitting boards. It is probably a courtyard, archaeologists believe.

The excavations unearthed numerous ceramic artifacts of the archaic and classical periods — objects such as vases, basins, bottles, lamps, pots and amphorae. Metallic objects were also found, all estimated to date to the 6th century BC.

Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades 


The results from the investigation of the different construction phases of the complex were important. Underneath the westernmost rooms, an earlier two-story building of rectangular shape with visible dimensions of 8 x 3.20 meters was discovered, dating back to the 6th century BC.

) ΕΥΡΗΜΑΤΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΗ ΦΕΤΙΝΗ ΑΝΑΣΚΑΦΗ (copyright ΕΦΟΡΕΙΑ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΤΗΤΩΝ ΚΥΚΛΑΔΩΝ)

Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades 


Inside the room researchers located — in their original position — a quadrilateral grid and a cooking pot. In addition, earlier floors were revealed in many areas and the thresholds of the original entrances that had been sealed were detected.

Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades 


It became evident that there were buildings on the site before the erection of the archaic temple in the middle of the 6th century BC. Also, north of Building E, a new building was found. It was labelled Building T (dimensions: 7.80 x 7.45 meters) and it consists of two rooms with independent entrances and a yards in front of each room.

Research on Building P has been completed. It includes a rectangular ground plan of 14 x 5 meters and consists of four rooms. Its construction is placed in the late 6th century BC, but the main phase of its use must be placed in the 5th century BC.

Considerable attention was also given to Building G. Since it appears that it was imperative to replace and expand its enclosure, excavated sections immediately west of it revealed a new building — an earlier construction — which was named Building Y. This construction has a nave-like floor plan measuring 7.70 x 6.10 meters with an entrance on the south side. Its walls are very sturdy, about one meter thick.

Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades 


Like every year, last year’s findings were impressive. More than 15 lamps and 15 fragments of vases with engraved inscriptions (APL, APOL) were found, fragments of amphorae and red-colored craters, everyday vases such as basins, bowls, pans, bottles, and many metallic objects (a bronze lance, nails, russets, hooks, etc.).

From last year’s discoveries what stood out were the fragment of the head of an archaic kouros, a fragment from the ankle of a kouros and scraps of two piths with embossed decoration, one depicting a warrior and the other a dance show.

The restoration work lasted four weeks and the Apollo sanctuary has regained its third dimension. The visitor can see the size and its grandeur even from across the coast of Antiparos island. Along with the restoration work, masonry maintenance works were carried out in the M and N buildings.

Photo Source: Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades 


This year's excavations were funded by Athanasios and Marina Martinou, the Levendis, Kanellopoulos and Latsis Foundations, and the College Year in Athens/DIKEMES.

 

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