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Archaeological research casts Cyclades history in new light

Panagia Ekatontapyliani (Church of 100 Doors), a historic church complex in Parikia, capital of Paros island. Six years of research conducted by a team of Greek archaeologists have challenged the long-held belief that the monument was built in the 6th century, instead placing construction in the first half of the 8th century during the transition from late antiquity to the medieval world.

The data, to be presented Thursday at the 24th International Congress of Byzantine Studies in Venice, has allegedly reset common belief about the role of the Cyclades during the 7th and 8th centuries, a crucial time for Byzantium amid an onslaught of Arab raids.

Demetrios Athanasoulis, director at the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades, says the evidence suggests that far from abandoning the islands, “the empire saw them as vital to its survival.”