Yannos Kourayos will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, October 10, at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled, “Paros and the Sanctuary of Apollo in the Island of Despotiko: The Excavations and the Reconstruction of the Temple and the Dining Rooms.”

The ongoing archaeological research at the sanctuary of Apollo, which came to light twenty-two years ago on the uninhabited island of Despotiko to the west of Paros, has significantly transformed our understanding of the sacred landscape of the Cyclades in the Geometric and Archaic periods. The site’s size and spatial organization set it apart from any other Cycladic sanctuary, with the notable exception of the sacred island of Delos. Although no epigraphic or literary testimony exists for the Despotiko sanctuary, archaeological evidence presents rich opportunities for understanding early Greek votive religion and material culture. The findings suggest that the shrine was founded and controlled by the polis of Paros. Cult activity can be traced back to the early Iron Age and peaked in the second half of the 6th century BC, when the sacred precinct was monumentalized and surrounded by a temenos wall. The sanctuary came to feature marble structures, including a columnar temple, buildings for cultic meals, and a permanent altar. Systematic study and reconstruction of these buildings led to the initiation of an anastylosis project, which is currently in progress and aims to restore part of the site to its original form.