Good things come in small packages, the saying goes. Size doesn’t matter, you’ll hear your wife say. Well, folks, not to put a damper on expectations but there may be a fragment of truth in that. And coming in to say I told you so, enter Keros. This 15 square kilometer, uninhabited island somewhere in the Cyclades provides definitive proof that, just like diamonds, size matters not. What Is Keros? Oh, nothing much, only the first Cycladic settlement ever dating back to the Bronze Age. Nestled in between bigger and more famous siblings, like Naxos, Koufonissia and Amorgos, the only souls that reside are goats and a few monks. The history of this place is as fascinating as it is old. Keros is like a small time machine.
And what exactly makes Keros so special? Keros was a semi inhabited islet that was, back then, joined to the smaller islet of Daskalio by a causeway. Excavations have yielded incredible finds, and theories have been put forth over what exactly took place there. As part of the Athenian Alliance, Keros was certainly on par with Delos in terms of importance. The fine marble found there meant it enjoyed a relatively prosperous status. The discovery of hundreds of marble shards belonging to female marble and clay figurines suggests that a form of sacrificial rite took place there. Taking that into account, archaeologists have theorized that a burial ritual led the inhabitants of nearby Cycladic settlements to bring their deceased there. Keros is thought to be one of the gates of Hades into the underworld.
Even more interesting is the suggestion that the Cycladic figurines that Picasso later copied, where actually conceived on the island of Keros. The narrative is that the shape of the island resembled a female figure at sea, and especially on full moons this was visible to the naked eye as the light juxtaposed the symmetry of the island onto the sky.
The discoveries being made there are so earth shattering that National Geographic has just created a documentary. We can’t wait to see it!