The “Idyllic” Cycladic Isle of Keros

The “Idyllic” Cycladic Isle of Keros

What makes this uninhabited Cycladic isle so significant?  Finds from the island exhibited at some of the world’s finest museums is just one of the reasons.

Located between the islands of Koufonissia and the island of Schinoussa, Keros, even today, is considered an archaeological treasure trove.

Visit Koufonissia, and you cannot miss it.

From any vantage point, in the near distance, across the white sands and turquoise waters sits an island with an interesting history.

Depending on the light its soft peaks may at times seem silver, white, grey.

On nights of a full moon, legends and locals say, the island resembles a sleeping pregnant woman.

With a surface of 15 square kilometers and 27 kilometers of coastline, Keros, visible — and magnificent — from neighboring Koufonissia and Schinoussa, holds a significant role in the period known as early Cycladic civilization (ca. 3200–2300 B.C) due to the numerous artifacts found on the island since excavations began in the early 1960s.

Today, Keros is considered an archaeological site, uninhabited, except for the archaeologists who visit for research and few local sheep and goat herders who visit to tend to their animals from their base on Koufonissia.

Other visits are off limits, although local sea taxis from Ano (Upper) Koufonissi and Schinoussa can take you to its shores for a closer look at this impressive historic gem of the Cyclades.

Artifacts, namely marble figurines from this period, today, may be seen at some of the world’s leading museums:

Here are just a few:

Museum: The Archaeological Museum of Naxos
Where: Chora, Naxos
Artifact(s): Early Cycladic Marble Figurine

Museum: National Archaeological Museum
Where: Athens, Greece
Artifact(s): Figurines of a harp player and a flutist

Museum: Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art
Where: Athens, Greece
Artifact (s): Fragments of figurines found on Keros

Museum: Louvre
Where: Paris
Artifact(s): “Head of a female statue of the ‘idol with crossed arms’

Also noteworthy: A harpist’s figurine, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is believed to be from Keros.


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