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Daily News Analysis


22nd June, 2024 Geography


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Picture Courtesy: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/ancient-greek-sanctuary-slowly-sinks-into-the-aegean-sea/article68283994.ece

Context: Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, faces destruction from rising sea levels and climate change, threatening its ancient Greek and Roman archaeological significance.


  • The ancient sanctuary of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, is facing a serious threat from climate change.
  • Located in the Cyclades archipelago of the Aegean Sea, Delos holds immense historical significance as one of the most important sanctuaries of the ancient Greek and Roman world.
  • Rising sea levels and other climate change impacts are putting this invaluable archaeological site at risk of being submerged and damaged beyond repair.

Delos is an island located near Mykonos in Greece. It is known for its significance in mythology, history, and archaeology.

Historical and Cultural Significance

  • Delos as a Sanctuary: Delos was admired as the birthplace of Apollo, the god of light, arts, and healing, and his sister Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. These deities were central to both Greek and Roman religion.
  • Economic and Religious Hub: At its peak during the Roman era, Delos was a bustling city attracting pilgrims and traders from all over the ancient world, with a population of around 30,000 people. It served as a major hub of trade in the Mediterranean.
  • Ruins and Artefacts: The Island’s 2,000-year-old buildings provide invaluable insights into daily life during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Key features include temples, marketplaces, and iconic stone lions guarding sacred spaces.

Current Threats

Rising Sea Levels

  • Climate Change Impact: Due to global warming, sea levels around Delos have risen significantly, with some parts of the island experiencing a rise of up to 20 metres in the past decade.
  • Structural Damage: Seawater intrusion is eroding the foundations of ancient buildings, particularly in areas that housed trade and storage buildings in the first and second centuries BCE. Each spring, archaeologists observe new collapses in the site's structures.

Material Degradation

  • Humidity and Temperature: A study by Aristotelio University highlights that rising temperatures and high humidity levels are affecting the chemical composition of materials used in ancient monuments. These materials, much like the human body, are only built to withstand specific temperatures and humidity levels, leading to accelerated deterioration under changing climate conditions.

Tourist Pressure

  • Tourist Activity: The influx of tourists from nearby Mykonos, often straying into restricted areas, poses additional risks to the site. The limited number of archaeologists available to supervise the site during peak tourist seasons exacerbates this issue.


The Hindu



Q. Delos Island is frequently seen in the news, it is located in the:

A) Aegean Sea

B) Ionian Sea

C) Black Sea

D) Caspian Sea

Answer:  A