1. Location and geomorphology
Despotiko is an uninhabited islet to the southwest of Antiparos, belonging to the province of Paros. It is mountainous, the highest point being the peak of Chondro Vouno (187 m), and has several bays and a little flat pastureland.
2. History and archaeology
The nowadays deserted Despotiko, called Prepesinthos in Antiquity, does not correspond to the picture resulting from archaeological evidence. Despotiko participated in the cultural development of the Cyclades, which in the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC) formed their own distinctive physiognomy. Its characteristics were the commercial development, the fortified settlements, and the establishment of metalwork and marble carving centres. These cultural developments took place in the so-called Early Cycladic period and form the distinctive Cycladic civilization.
In Despotiko, at the locations Zoumbaria, Livadi and Panagia, a large number of carved and cist graves with burial offerings, marble vessels and figurines have been discovered. Remains of Early Cycladic settlements have been preserved at Zoumbaria and Cheiromylos.
The rest archaeological remains belong to Historical times; at Mandra, opposite Antiparos, a settlement has been discovered, as well as the traces of a sacred complex centered around a temple to Apollo, whose excavation is in progress. The findings suggest a great influence from the important neighbouring centre of Paros. As it results from the findings, many of which are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Paros, the sanctuary was in use from the Early Historical years until the Ottoman period, being the permanent centre of activities for the island.
In the following years the island was inhabited until the 17th century, when it was ransacked by French pirates. According to evidence, the island, thanks to its position at the centre of the Cyclades and its proximity to Paros and Antiparos, was always an important station in the routes of the Aegean Sea, used by both the inhabitants of neighbouring islands, who built there small settlements for stock breeding, and by the pirates of the Middle Ages and early modern times.