Naked kouros statue among new finds at Despotiko

Archaeologists have uncovered a naked kouros statue during excavations of an Ancient Greek sanctuary dedicated to Apollo.

Despotiko is a small, uninhabited Greek island in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea. Excavations in the northwest part of the island have previously found a late Archaic sanctuary in dedication to Apollo, one of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman mythology.

- Advertisement -

The sanctuary was rebuilt several times during the Classical and Hellenistic periods and contains an altar where in 2015, archaeologists found pottery fragments etched with inscriptions bearing the name of Apollo.

According to a press release by the Greek Ministry of Culture, recent excavations have led to the discovery of a kouros statue, a free-standing sculpture that depicts a nude male youth commonly found in other Apollo sanctuaries.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Education

Kouros in Ancient Greek refers to a “youth, boy, especially of noble rank”. Upon reaching adolescence, a young individual, now resembling a mature Kouros, could gain entry into the initiation celebration of the fraternity, joining the ranks of adult men. Apellaios was the month of these rites, and Apollo (Apellon) was the “megistos kouros” (the greatest Kouros).

Kouros statues had several functions. Some could be a depiction of Apollo himself, while others may have been used as commemorative tombstones or offerings for the gods.

- Advertisement -

The statue found at Despotiko dates from around 480 BC and was carved from marble originating from the larger island of Paros to the east. Also found during this seasons excavations are 88 fragments of marble kouroi, 40 marble bases, and numerous ceramics from the archaic and classical period such as vases, basins, bottles, lamps, pots, and amphorae.

Greek Ministry of Culture

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Education

- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Underwater archaeologists find 112 glassware objects off Bulgaria’s coast

A team of underwater archaeologists from the Regional Historical Museum Burgas have recovered 112 glass objects from Chengene Skele Bay, near Burgas, Bulgaria.

Bronze Age axe found off Norway’s east coast

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Maritime Museum have discovered a Bronze Age axe off the coast of Arendal in the Skagerrak strait.

Traces of Bahrain’s lost Christian community found in Samahij

Archaeologists from the University of Exeter, in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, have discovered the first physical evidence of a long-lost Christian community in Samahij, Bahrain.

Archaeologists uncover preserved wooden elements from Neolithic settlement

Archaeologists have discovered wooden architectural elements at the La Draga Neolithic settlement.

Pyramid of the Moon marked astronomical orientation axis of Teōtīhuacān

Teōtīhuacān, loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods," is an ancient Mesoamerican city situated in the Teotihuacan Valley, Mexico.

Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered in Malmesbury

Archaeologists have discovered an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in the grounds of the Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury, England.

Musket balls from “Concord Fight” found in Massachusetts

Archaeologists have unearthed five musket balls fired during the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, United States.

3500-year-old ritual table found in Azerbaijan

Archaeologists from the University of Catania have discovered a 3500-year-old ritual table with the ceramic tableware still in...