June 2012 - Present
Sanctuary of Apollo Excavation on Despotiko
The Sanctuary of Apollo on Despotiko (in the Cycladic islands of Greece), whose first monumental phase dates as far back as the VII century B.C., was a crossroads of devoted pilgrims, ambitious merchants, and sailors. During the Archaic age, the sanctuary was visited and enriched by a great variety of travellers coming from Minor Asia, Crete, mainland Greece, Egypt and Lebanon. Its political status was bound together with that of the polis (city) Paros.
At the same time, the sanctuary represented the cult focus and the territorial frontier of the Cycladic communities settled in Paros, where the polites (citizens) developed the rituals of passage that constituted them as a civic body and worshipped Apollo and Artemis as guarantors of their traditions.
A central phenomenon of the birth of the occidental model of community is illustrated by the emerging archaeological remains on Despotiko; the emergence of the Greek Polis. The multi-cultural frequentation of this frontier-sanctuary expresses the flexible qualities of the concept of frontier itself in the world of this age, where frontier is meant to be strong enough to constitute identity, but flexible enough to provide a common language for the whole Mediterranean network of cultures. This language is structured on the ritualized communication with the sacred; namely (in the Cyclades) with the god Apollo.
After being lost to the elements, it was recently rediscovered and has been excavated by Dr. Yannos Kourayos, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture, since 1992. The excavation has proceeded in co-operation with scholars and students from numerous European and American universities and institutions. Dr. Kornilia Daifa, field archaeologist of the Greek Ministry of Culture, works on the site as director’s assistant and is currently conducting PhD research on Cycladic extra-urban sanctuaries in the Archaic Age, at the University of Thessaly. Interdisciplinary studies on the site include distinguished scholars Dr. Aenne Ohnesorg, architecture professor at the Technical University of Munich (Germany) who collaborates on the architectonic study of excavated structures, and Dr. Alexandra Alexandridou, lecturer and researcher at the Centre of Archaeology and Heritage (CReA) of the Université Libre of Bruxelles (Belgium) who also leads the summer program “Excavating in the Aegean: The Case of Despotiko (Paros, Antiparos)”.
The Diakron Institute has participated in the excavation of the Sanctuary on Despotiko since 2012. Andrew Gipe assists with architectural documentation, producing plans, sections, and rendered drawings of archaeological evidence; actively collaborating with other architects working on site. Luigi Lafasciano works as a field archaeologist, teaching the stratigraphic method to students coming from Italian and foreign universities and giving tours of the site in English, Spanish, Italian, and French.
The Diakron Institute is currently involving the Despotiko excavation in a research project about the cultural relevance of the Archaeological Heritage in the cultural life and economy of modern Mediterranean communities.