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Bronze Age Greek Island of Keros Visualized in Documentary

Proposed 3D visualization of the ancient village on the islet of Dhaskalio. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

Keros, the small, uninhabited Cycladic island south of Naxos, Greece, is the subject of a recent documentary which is the result of the first collaboration between National Geographic and the Greek television network COSMOTE TV.

The island had one of the most important Cycladic settlements during the Bronze Age, reaching its peak of its civilization around 2,500 BC.

In the mid-twentieth century, archaeologists unearthed a wealth of the iconic flat-faced Cycladic figurines on the island, a spectacular find that has since then been known as the “Keros Hoard.”

These iconic figurines were quickly purchased by collectors and museums around the world.
Cycladic figurines, such as those found on Keros, inspired many artists who saw links between the ancient style and contemporary art, embodied especially by Picasso, in his angular figures.

Archaeologists Excavate Western Side of Keros

Studying a marble figurine from Keros. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

From 2006 to 2008, a team of archaeologists, led by Professor Colin Renfrew, Co-director of the Cambridge Keros Project and National Geographic Explorer, excavated the west coast of Keros, which is thought to be the source of the sculptures found there.

The same group of archaeologists also excavated the site of Dhaskalio, a small island that was connected to Keros in antiquity, where they found evidence of a massive settlement that was important to the region during the Bronze Age.

Archaeologists also found evidence of of the largest building in the Cyclades during the Early Bronze Age on Dhaskalio.

Their discoveries revealed large, terraced walls and homes that formed a pyramid-like shape on the island.

Perhaps most amazingly, underneath the structures, evidence of advanced plumbing was also found.

The islet of Dhaskalio as seen from the site of Kavos, on Keros. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

These discoveries make Dhaskalio, and Keros by extension, one of the most important Bronze Age sites anywhere in the Aegean.

The documentary about the fascinating ancient site allows viewers to travel back in time and further understand the importance of Keros in the Bronze Age.

Artifacts from the site on display in Athens

Ancient Aegean treasures from Keros and Daskalio, early Cycladic island sites which flourished from 3200-2100 BC, can be seen for the very first time at an exhibit which opened in Athens in late May.

“Des Apenanti—A Settlement on Keros of 4,500 Years Ago” is now on display at the Athens Municipal Gallery in the Metaxourgio district, exhibiting objects that were first discovered in 2019.

The show includes artifacts unearthed in the long-term excavation by the University of Cambridge on the islets southeast of Naxos, Keros, and Daskalio, part of the Koufonissia group of islands.

The exhibit highlights the start of urbanization and the maritime trade networks for raw materials and goods in the Aegean Sea during the prehistoric era.

One section shows aspects of daily life and trade while another provides a glimpse into archaeological methods and documentation, including what were cutting-edge technologies at the time.

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