Ghost temple on desert islet

Archaeologists chasing a phantom ancient temple on an uninhabited islet of the Cyclades have turned up many impressive artifacts – but no sign of the building itself. A Culture Ministry statement said yesterday that this year’s excavations on Despotiko, an islet west of Antiparos, revealed extensive remains of buildings that belonged to the sanctuary, as well as broken statues, pottery, clay figurines and other ivory and copper artifacts. Hundreds of architectural fragments from a Doric temple believed to date to around 500 BC were also found built into later structures. But an open plot of ground surrounded by ancillary buildings, where archaeologists expected to find the temple’s foundations, only produced remains of a mysterious semicircular building. Inscriptions on the site show the temple was dedicated to Apollo.