Dora Katsonopoulou during the Two-Day Conference 'Transition Strategies towards a different development model for Paros and the Cyclades', April 2024

At the recent two-day conference, professor of archaeology Ms. Dora Katsanopoulou captivated audiences with a compelling lecture on Paros' significant cultural heritage. In fifteen minutes, she recounted the island's rich history and its invaluable contributions to ancient civilization.

Ms. Katsanopoulou's lecture, entitled "Cultural Heritage, the Comparative Advantage of Paros," explored the evolution of human settlements on the island, tracing back to the Neolithic period. She meticulously detailed the progression from early settlements in the Saliagos region to the thriving urban developments of the ancient city of Parikia.

One of the focal points of her presentation was the historical significance of the ancient quarries on Paros, renowned for producing the world-famous Parian marble. This luminous stone, particularly a variety known as Lychnitis, was highly sought after by ancient sculptors for its purity and translucency, making it a preferred material for monumental sculptures.

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Throughout her lecture, Ms Katsanopoulou incorporated visuals of archaeological sites and artefacts that illustrate Paros's pivotal role in ancient times. Highlights included the Temple of Athena and the ancient settlements that showed continuous habitation through various historical phases, including the Mycenaean and Geometric periods.

The archaeologist also discussed Paros' strategic importance in maritime trade, which was a significant factor in its prosperity. The island's influence extended far beyond its shores, establishing colonies in the ancient world from the Northern Aegean to the Northern Adriatic.

Ms. Katsanopoulou's discussion extended to the cultural and historical impact of the Parian marble, detailing its journey from the quarries to becoming iconic statues like the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, which continue to captivate the world.

In conclusion, Ms. Katsanopoulou advocated for the preservation and promotion of Paros's archaeological sites as vital to enhancing cultural tourism and extending the tourist season on the island. Her passionate presentation not only highlighted the archaeological importance of Paros but also underscored the need for ongoing research and conservation efforts to safeguard this invaluable heritage for future generations.

Her lecture, rich in historical narrative and backed by substantial archaeological evidence, was a poignant reminder of Paros' profound cultural legacy and lasting significance in the broader context of human civilization.