With the grant from the Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation, the restorative works on the western stoa of the Gymnasium in Ancient Messene greatly progressed in 2020 and will continue in 2021.

While adhering to COVID-19 regulations, works on the substructure and the stylobate were completed. At the same time, all the remaining pillars were positioned in the Stoa. New limestone capitals were crafted, as the original ones had been used in lieu of construction materials or in the production of lime. For similar reasons, there are missing or crumbling architraves, the soldering and filling of which will continue during 2021. In the meantime, architectural parts of the stoa were also conserved.

During this crucial time for our country, when the need for additional medical equipment to help combat the spread of COVID-19 is both urgent and vital, Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation has donated 1.000.000 euros to support this cause.

In coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the donated amount will be provided to the Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Technology SA (IFET), for the medical equipment supplies required for hospitals and the public healthcare system (in Greece).

Restoration work at the Stoa of Philip on Delos is stepped up through scheduling and organization so that everything will be ready for the finalized design, the costing of works and the actual restoration phase. The work carried out between April 10 and 20 may appear as non-essential to laypeople, and certainly not impressive, yet more than necessary it is invaluable to all subsequent stages. The monument’s aerial documentation by drone reveals the impressive range of the finds and helps classify them at the currently ongoing  stage, so that one can accurately determine what pieces ‘tie in’ with what in order to make up a complete set. What has not be found will have to be replicated and added. This is the object of the next phase of the design, which will also establish the necessary budget for the project. The recently completed work involved the participation of archaeologists, architects, topographers, draughtspersons and marble technicians.

Specifically, the work carried out between April 10 and 20 entailed:

  1. Land & photogrammetric survey of the monument

The fieldwork involved:

  • Fitting ground control points at suitable locations in the broader area of the Stoa and measuring their coordinates using the high-precision geodesic GPS of the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities [CEA].
  • Additional precision measurements of representative linear attributes of the monument were made with a view to ensuring the fully controlled scale of the final outcome (orthophotography).
  • Aerial photography with CEA’s drone in a fully automated process on a high-precision geographic background. The outcome can be described as geometrically optimum, having secured the best flight conditions possible (altitude, aerial photo overlapping, camera positioning, etc.) and comprehensive in terms of the number of photographs—over 1,000, from a low altitude of 10m.

The photogrammetric processing of the images was carried out at a state-of-the-art workstation using CEA’s specialized software to obtain a high-resolution 3D model and orthophoto map integrated into the Greek geodesic reference system.


The fieldwork was carried by the following team:

  • Themistocles Vakoulis, Archaeologist (CEA)
  • Tania Panagou, Archaeologist (CEA)
  • Demetra Mavrokordatou, Architect (CEA)
  • Georgios Papadantonakis, Topographer (General Directorate of Monument Restoration & Technical Projects)
  • Maria Bia, Topographer (CEA)
  • Pavlos Fylaktos, Archaeologist (CEA)
  • Evangelia Tsaknaridou, Draughtsperson (CEA)
  1. Photogrammetric Rendering of architectural fragments

The fieldwork for collecting the data for the photogrammetric rendering of the architectural fragments to be used in the restoration was carried out by the following team:

  • Goulielmos Orestidis, Architect
  • Louisa Anagnostou, Architect
  • Amalia Konidi, Architect

Any necessary repositioning of the architectural fragments for the requirements of photogrammetry were carried out by the following team of marble technicians:

  • Christos Bliyannos
  • Elias SIxas
  • Yannoulis Skaris

The second phase of operations scheduled for 2018 aim to complete the preparatory work, which comprises the following:

  1. Final layout of architectural fragments

The architectural fragments which will not be used in the restoration will be laid out in the marshy area to the west of the monument. To this end, a base of approx. 600m2 will be built of reinforced concrete. However, the marshy nature of the site necessitates a geotechnical and structural design by a civil engineer. Once the design is complete, the base will be constructed and the architectural fragments will be transported and arranged in groups on it.


  1. B. Final design of the restoration of the Stoa

Completion of the necessary 3D renderings of the architectural fragments to be used in the restoration, and detailed recording of the monument’s current condition. Once these data have been collected and processed, the final design of the partial restoration of the Stoa can go ahead safely.


  1. Construction of additions to the architectural fragments

Final selection of the type of marble to be used in the restoration and procurement of the material so that the processing of the new architectural fragments and the additions to the existing ones, as envisaged in the design, can go ahead.


  1. D. Setting up the construction site for the restoration work

Organising the construction site with the equipment necessary for restoring and assembling the architectural members and selection of the appropriate system for lifting, moving and placing the bulky elements in their original positions. The selection of the crane will take into account the various challenging parameters: difficult access to the island, lack of approach to the monument for the machinery, the great weight of the architectural fragments (with one lintel alone weighing some 11 tons), weather conditions with strong winds, the aesthetic impact on the landscape, etc.


  1. Annual weeding and cleaning

Weeding and cleaning must be performed on an annual basis so as to preserve the neat aspect of the monument and the classification site, so as to enhance the visitors’ experience and facilitate the operations.

On the island of Despotiko the process of restoring and promoting the archaic sanctuary of Apollo differs little from the way it was done originally, and this adds extra value to such an important venture.

The second largest shrine to Apollo after that of Delos, this archaic sanctuary is on the uninhabited island of Despotiko, near Antiparos, without modern conveniences and facilities. Those involved in the project—craftsmen, engineers, archaeologists, students—are keenly aware of history flowing on in an unspoilt setting, collectively creating a harmonious whole untouched over the centuries.

The restoration of the archaic temple and the refectory are of prime importance to the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities and the ehad of the project, the archaeologist Yannos Kouragios, as it will turn the island of Despotiko into an organised archaeological park of great cultural value. Till then, every member in the Despotiko task force will be working under challenging conditions, mainly sue to the location, on an uninhabited island with no power, without the option to carry heavy tools and materials with anything other than one’s hands. Today’s marble craftsmen use the same methods as their ancient forebears, with the same diligence and the same exemplary precision. Except for the major contribution of technology with the CNC machines which generate life-size 3D models of the ancient architectural fragments, it is the craftsmen’s hands that build, restore and produce the final outcome according to the architect’s instructions; at the same time, the entire restoration team along with dozens of volunteer archaeology students from all over the world contribute significantly under the guidance of Yannos Kouragios and his associates. Volunteerism and private initiative have been key to the Despotiko project which, with no funding from any EU programme, relies on privat sponsorship since 2014.


Next May or June the Despotiko team has been schedule to spend a month on restoring the pillars of the temple and the refectory, mounting one of temple’s epistyles, continuing the wall shared by the two buildings and reconstructing the front walls of the temple and the refectory. The project’s scheduling may have to be modified depending on weather conditions or the difficulties in transporting equipment, although years of experience have shown that all problems can be resolved as long as the project goes on; and it will go on until it is completed thanks to the inexhaustible passion of those who work on it and the enthusiasm of those who provide hands-on support.

The Byzantine & Christian Museum of Athens hosts, from Wednesday, Nov 22 to Sunday, Nov 26, a conference “On the Cycladic Islands; Archaeological Work in the Cyclades” and the exhibition “Cycladic snapshots from the monuments and their people”, which opens on Nov 22 at 20.00 and will run through the end of February 2018.

The conference

The conference, which honours Fotini Zafiropoulou, Ephor Emeritus of Cycladic Antiquities, and the memory of Nikolaos Zafiropoulos, Ephor of Cycladic Antiquities from 1959 to 1972 for his contribution to the study, protection and promotion of Cycladic antiquities, aims to acquaint both specialists and the general public with the important archaeological work carried out for years in the Cycladic islands and the finds it has revealed from prehistoric to recent times. To be attended by over 200 participants in 21 sessions in its five days, the conference will cover the following areas:

(a) Excavations, fieldwork (preventive and systematic excavations, surface surveys), special studies of material and broader synthetic studies;

(b) conservation and restoration of monuments in relation to projects for the promotion and redesign of archaeological sites;

(c) the work carried out in the islands’ Museums and Archaeological Collections through exhibitions, educational programmes and related activities.

The exhibition

As stated by Mr Dimitris Athanassoulis, Head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades, “We decided to present this exhibition on the history of research in the Cyclades as a parallel event to the conference on the archaeological work on the islands. And since the islands are remote, we decided to …bring them to Athens”. The exhibition presents, in three parts:

Data from the first excavations on Delos and Reneia, by the French Archaeological School and the then-newly formed Archaeological Service; finds from the excavations of Nikolaos Zafiropoulos at Sellada, Thera, and most uniquely the model of a house which has never been exhibited and may be the highlight of the exhibition; and typical exhibits from the research and conservation of Byzantine monuments in the Cyclades.

More information on: http://www.byzantinemuseum.gr/el/?nid=2258


An excavation was carried out for the fifth year in a row in the area of Hiliomodi, Corinthia, with Dr Elena Korka, General Director of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture heading an interdisciplinary team from the Ministry and universities. The six-week excavation built on the one of 2016, which had first brought to light the remains of an ancient city and a two-compartment over-ground burial monument from Roman times. The excavation cuts made on the perimeter of this monuments confirmed the use of the site from Archaic to Roman times.

Fourteen tile graves were uncovered, many of which contained several burials and offerings from the 1st to the 4th c. AD.

A complex of edifices was found underlying the Roman monument and graveyard, with major in-situ finds—tiles and vessels from Archaic to Roman times—and an important concentration of pyres. To the north of the underground space a Hellenistic wall was uncovered with sturdy foundations, two more walls fro the same period, pottery from Hellenistic times and the figurine of a dove. In a third, later Hellenistic phase the walls had been dug out to take new burials; five monolithic sarcophagus tombs were found, complete with rich offerings.

Standing out among these is a female burial with precious offerings—a bronze wreath with myrtle leaves and fruits, a gold ring, a flute and fusiform plates made of bone, a bronze mirror, a gold danake from a Sikyon coin—as well as many other offerings from the other graves: scent holders, forks, lamps, skyphoi, coins. East of this site, at the point of the foundation base, there were more than one burials one of which was found to contain a large number of Hellenistic scent holders.

The clearing of the Roman burial monument revealed one archaic capital and several Hellenistic architectural elements which were subsequently used in the foundations of the Roman edifice.

The finds from the Hellenistic structures underlying the Roman burial monument suggests that their use was linked to rituals. The wealth of finds confirms the historical and cultural continuity of Tenea, the main town in the Tenean valley and a strategic point along the way from Argos to Corinth. The participation of students from Greek and foreign universities and the provision of educational programmes for local schoolchildren add extra value to an already important archaeological project which is supported by the Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation as part of its drive to showcase the continuity of Greek civilisation and provide training opportunities for young people.

An island-archaeological park ‘breathes’ again

Delos has stood proud for centuries, open to the winds and drenched in sunlight almost every day of the year, forsaken by specialists and others yet always admirable. In October 2017, Delos started breathing again. Eople and machines arrived on the island to put in order the scattered material of the monument that once illuminated the entire known world.

The preliminary phase revealed many times more architectural fragments than expected

The first outcomes of the preliminary tasks are positive if not spectacular, adding much to our scientific knowledge on the surviving architectural material of the monument. Large areas in and around the edifice have been cleared and the elements that make up the architectural material have been arranged, at least provisionally, enhancing the look of the archaeological site which hitherto left one with a sense of abandonment.

The surviving architectural members are many times more than originally estimated, which means revisions for the restoration plans for the famous Stoa of Philip II. The restoration experts’ information on the ancient monument is now richer, and they have much more genuine ancient material to use in the final phase of the restoration, the end result of which will gain a lot in authenticity and aesthetic quality.

Although the more-than-doubled amount of architectural fragments is great news, it also has a negative impact on the originally planned scheduled and the budget. It is now clear that there will be delays in the restoration, due to the increased preliminary work in recording and classifying the large number of elements, most of which come from the lower part of the edifice, the crepidoma and the stylobate, where the use of new material had been envisaged.

The 170 ancient fragments now identified can be used in the restoration of the stylobate with the addition of new material. This reduces somewhat the bulk of the order for marble, but necessitates 3D renderings of the ancient fragments so that the missing parts can be built and fitted. An added ‘problem’ is handling the ancient material not to be used in the restoration; the higher-than-envisaged number of fragments need to be classified and laid out over a larger surface.

The progress of the restoration is encouraging, and already seems to attract visitors’ interest in the monument, as it was evidenced by all those who were on the island while work was carried out in the Stoa. Visitors to Delos could see that a major project was in progress and this could not fail to trigger their curiosity or even their excitement.

Yannos Kouragios, the archaeologist who has linked his career to the excavation and restoration of Despotiko and to showcasing the great civilisation that evolved in the Cyclades over centuries, speaks enthusiastically of the second phase of restoration at Despotiko as he awaits with patience the passage of time and the anticipated outcomes.

“The second phase of restoration has begun with the grant from the Canellopoulos Foundation. We have proceeded with restoring the area that connected the restaurant with the temple, using both ancient and contemporary materials. Despite the time and cost this entails, it is nevertheless a key process before the epistyles can be fitted, for both aesthetic and structural reasons so as to ensure maximum stability against strong winds or potential earthquakes. It is an intermediate wall that ‘binds’ together and supports the structure. The design is carried out by Dimitirs Englezos (the civil engineer who was also in charge of the Amphipolis monument), and the restoration by the architect-restorer Goulielmos Orestidis.

These days we are erecting the second pillar of the restaurant, consisting of two pieces (drums), the restoration of which also entailed the use of ο both ancient and contemporary materials.

At the same time we are trying to restore the walls throughout the complex of the sanctuary. To this end we have purchased a kind of marble that closely matches the original Pariano  variety of Naxos. The facades also need to be formed, using new and ancient materials. The works are expected to last until the first days of October”.

An archaeologist’s time goes by slowly, with long phases of work and even longer ones of waiting for approval and funding. Yet when the moment comes, this wasted time means nothing compared to achieving the desired outcome: to show the grandeur that lay buried or disjointed, waiting to resume its original life and form.

The conversion of the archaeological site of Nicopolis to an archaeological park has been a vision of the Region of Epirus, the DIAZOMA Society and everyone else who is firmly convinced that as Greeks we need to know our cultural path and realise its bearing on what we do today. We than Deputy Governor of Preveza, Stratos Ioannou, for apprising the public of our initiative and we carry on!



The Canellopoulos Foundation has approved a grant of €80.000 towards financing the Final Design for the reception building at the Archaeological Site of Nicopolis, the last design in the set of designs necessary to complete the cultural path along the ancient theatres of Epirus.

We in the Region of Epirus feel especially pleased with this development, as this particular design  ‘unlocks’ €900.000 from the EPIRUS Regional Operational Programme (ROP) for this project, coming one step closer to turning and the archaeological site of Nicopolis into an archaeological park.

My warm thanks to the Canellopoulos Foundation for this major sponsorship, to the Ministry of Culture, the Preveza Ephorate of Antiquities and the DIAZOMA Society for their help and in particular the Regional Governor Mr Alexandros Kachrimanis for his unstinting support.