A tiny island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, an island which the sun almost never leaves, became a religious centre as the birthplace of Apollo but also a major trade centre which retained its fame even when it had declined.
Historians and archaeologists got interested in the treasures of the island already since the Middle Ages, and the first excavation took place in 1772, when the island along with all Cyclades went under the rule of the Russian empire; those archaeological finds were taken back to St Petersburg and most of them are on show at the exquisite Ermitage.
All this time, Delos has been standing there with the enticing wonders it has yet to reveal—and they seem to be many.
A recent underwater survey by the Ephorate of Marine Antiquities and the French School report the existence of a sunken pier: a striking structure, 160m long and 40m wide, made of granite blocks of impressive dimensions. The survey also traced an ancient shipwreck with hundreds of amphorae on boards, and photographed two more shipwrecks off the southern tip of Delos, at Herronissos and Renia, which must date from the island’s peak times (2nd -1st c. BC).
On the other hand, the amphorae that probably contained wine and oil from Italy date from the 2nd-4th c. AD, demonstrating the island’s continuing commercial power even after its destruction.
These finds reaffirm the need to continue with a systematic underwater exploration of the island as well as to promote projects such as the imminent restoration of the Stoa of Philip III by the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities with support from the P & A Canellopoulos Foundation.