They give the evidence that, although the Cycladic civilization of the Neolithic Age has many similarities to its contemporary ones, especially to the Peloponnesian, it had developed an art with its own special features. Unfortunately, very few other sites of the so-called Saliagos Culture have been found, and our knowledge of the society and the religious beliefs of this people, as well as their origin, is still quite limited. Later on, during the Early Copper Age, the Cycladic civilization takes on a more insular character. In the 3rd millennium BC begins the great development of the civilization in Paros, Antiparos and Despotiko. Tombs dating to the 3000-2500 BC period were first discovered in Antiparos in 1883 by British archaeologist Bent and the brothers Swan, who conducted excavations at the sites of Apandima, Soros and Petalides. Finds from these excavations are now exhibited in London.

 

In 1897, the founder of Greek prehistoric science, archaeologist Christos Tsountas, conducted excavations in Antiparos, at the sites of Apandima, Soros, Petalida and Krasades, discovering cemeteries, pots and statuettes. Finds from these sites are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Athens. Christos Tsountas also directed excavations in Despotiko, where he unearthed two Early Cycladic cemeteries at the sites of Livadi and Zoumbaria, and found remains of a prehistoric settlement at the site of Chiromili. He asserted that during the 3rd millennium BC the population of these two islands lived in small settlements situated relatively far apart. The Archaeological Service and its director of antiquities Nicolaos Zafiropoulos conducted more recent research in Despotiko in 1959. These confirmed the size of the Early Cycladic settlements, bringing also to light architectural remains of archaic and Roman times. At the site of Mandra in Despotiko was found a Doric, white marble temple of the historic period, which was studied in 1980. The existing evidence, though, for the settling of Despotiko in historic times is scarce, thus stressing the importance of discovered fragments of a “kouros” statue and the half-finished head of a statuette of the late 6th century BC which are exhibited in the Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art in Athens.

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