Dhaskalio Witnessing the dawn of urbanisation in Europe?
In a world obsessed with cutting communication times and securing natural resources, it can be hard to understand the ancient allure of Dhaskalio. Situated at the remote tip of a sparsely inhabited island, the site seemingly had little to draw visitors. Yet they came in sufficient numbers to create a type of settlement previously unseen in Europe. Colin Renfrew, Michael Boyd, and Evi Margaritis explained why to Matthew Symonds.
Today, the tiny islet of Dhaskalio pierces the waters of the Aegean 90m offshore from the Cycladic island of Keros. Despite lying at the heart of the Aegean, and enjoying glorious views over the surrounding island chain,
neither Dhaskalio nor Keros are currently inhabited by humans. Dhaskalio itself is little more than a rocky mass, clad in scrub vegetation, which rises steeply from the sea. It is a mere 200m in length. Although Keros is rather larger, reaching about 7km at its longest point, it is only a slightly better bet from an agricultural point of view. Most of the land is too marginal to sustain crops, while the absence of marble or metal deposits seemingly left the island with little to attract human interest. Rather being condemned to obscurity, though, both Keros and