This listing expired on May 26, 2014. Please contact for any updated information.
Greece - Excavating in the Aegean: The Case of Despotiko, Paros

Location: Despotiko, Paros, Greece

May 26, 2014 to June 21, 2014

Program Type

Field school


College Year in Athens

Project Director:

Yannos Kourayos, Director of Excavation at Despotiko, Greek Ministry of Culture

Project Description

Historical Setting
Despotiko is an uninhabited islet west of Paros and Antiparos, in the center of the Cycladic islands, in the heart of the Aegean. Recent excavations on this tiny island have uncovered a previously unknown sanctuary, possibly of Apollo, that has produced a great variety of archaeological finds, including marble sculptures, gold and bronze jewelry, faience scarabs and statuettes, and a remarkable clay statuette representing a female goddess dating to ca 650 B.C. Although the island is mentioned by the ancient geographer Strabo and the Roman intellectual Pliny, no historical description of its settlement or sanctuary exists. Therefore, archaeological fieldwork alone is the key to further discovery about Despotiko.

Course Description
This course offers a hands-on introduction to fieldwork method and theory as students actively participate in the current excavations at Despotiko. Students will join the excavations at the sanctuary site of Mandra, where they will learn the basic methods of stratigraphical excavation, in-field documentation, and architectural conservation. Afternoons will be devoted to artefact cleaning, analysis and conservation, complemented by discussions exploring various aspects of the excavation’s activities, from potential interpretations of the project’s discoveries to the impact of archaeological fieldwork on contemporary society. Although the main focus of the current Despotiko excavations is the Archaic-Classical phases of the Mandra sanctuary, the course includes the full range of Despotiko’s occupation, from the Early Bronze Age through the modern period.  During the last week of the program students will work in the Archaeological Museum of Paroikia on conservation activities related to the finds from Despotiko.

Enrollment and Credit
Currently registered undergraduates majoring in relevant subjects will receive priority, as will applicants with a B+ average or above. The nature of the course is primarily introductory, but students with a stronger background in archaeology will have the opportunity to do more advanced work.

Recommended credit: 6
Students are responsible for arranging academic credit with their colleges or universities. Most colleges and universities accept College Year in Athens courses for transfer credit; students whose home institutions do not grant credit on the basis of the College Year in Athens transcript should contact the CYA North American Office (617/868-8200; to discuss available alternatives.

Period(s) of Occupation: Archaic - Classical

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No, but but students with a stronger background in archaeology will have the opportunity to do more advanced work.

Room and Board Arrangements

For the first three weeks of the program on Antiparos students will be housed in the Zombos Hotel, on the beach of Agios Georgios, in double- or triple-occupancy, air-conditioned rooms.  During the last week of the program they will be accommodated in the Aegean Village Hotel in Paroikia.  Lunch is included Monday through Friday at Agios Georgios and at Paroikia.


Academic Credit

Number of credits offered 6
$2990 including hotel accommodation


Contact Information
College Year in Athens
PO Box 390890
617 868 8200
617 868 8207
Recommended Bibliography: 


Kourayos, Y., 2004. Paros Antiparos: history, monuments, museums, Athens.
Kourayos, Y., 2012. Despotiko. The Sanctuary of Apollo, Athens.

Archaeology & Methods

Renfrew, C. & Bahn, P., 2004. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice,4 London.

Pedley, J.G., 2005. Sanctuaries and the sacred in the ancient Greek world, Cambridge.

Greek Pottery

Boardman, J., 2001. The history of Greek vases, London.