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Cyprus Archaeology

Cyprus Archaeology

Extensive research on the prehistory of Cyprus was carried out during the period under review. There are some hints of a pre-Neolithic (late-Paleolithic?) Culture in a locality on the southern coast of the island (Akrotiri- Aetokremos).

Excavations in the two major Neolithic sites (Kalavassos- Tenta and Khirokitia) have cast ample light especially on the aceramic phase of the Neolithic. New dating through carbon 14, for the Ancient Neolithic period, at least for Kalavassos- Tenta, allow us to go back to the end of the 8th millennium. In both locations, circular buildings were discovered. A new aspect that has emerged is the fortification of both settlements: in Kalavassos with a moat and in Khirokitia with a massive wall, previously interpreted as a road. In Kalavassos, pisé was widely usedor mud bricks for the construction of the walls and there is evidence of the decoration with a red pigment of the plastered walls: in one case a composition with crudely rendered human figures was found.

New excavations in the Paphos district (Lemba- Lakkous and Kissonerga Mosphilia) have shed light on the Chalcolithic period. In both locations, large circular structures with concrete floors were discovered. Limestone and terracotta statuettes depicting nude female figures illustrate the religious beliefs of the 4th millennium Cyprus, which centered around a female fertility deity, connected with childbirth; the existence of a male god of fertility with phallic characteristics is also documented. A richly painted clay model of an open-air circular sanctuary, found at Kissonerga- Mosphilia, with 17 clay and stone human figurines, illustrates complex religious rituals in the Chalcolithic period.

The Early Bronze Age is documented by architectural remains and tombs discovered in Sotira- Kaminoudhia, near the southern coast. They can be dated to the Early Bronze Age I, corresponding to the so-called ” Philia cultural phase ” of the northern part of the island (early 3rd millennium). A pair of gold earrings or hair clips was found in one tomb, the oldest of its kind.

The excavation of tombs in the village of Kalavassos yielded a large amount of pottery and also bronze tools and weapons, which testify to the prosperity of this region located in an area rich in copper mines. The tombs cover the entire Middle Bronze Age. A settlement dating from the end of the Middle Bronze to the beginning of the Late Bronze has been excavated at Episkopi- Phaneromeni: large houses with many rooms have been found, often with traces of a foreground. Near the settlement, Middle Bronze Age tombs have been excavated.

Another Middle Bronze Age settlement has been excavated in Alambra, where large buildings with thick walls have also been unearthed.

The Late Bronze Age focused the greatest interest in research and excavation. The tombs excavated in Maroni- Kapsaloudhia near the southern coast and in Palaepaphos- Teratsoudhia illustrate relations with Syria and Egypt (a stone vase with the Ahmosis cartouche was found in Palaepaphos). An early 14th century tomb excavated in Kalavassos- Ayios Dhimitrios may be one of the richest ever discovered on the island: it contained Mycenaean pottery, gold jewelry (weighing 432 g), ivory and glass objects, evidence of the wealth of Cyprus and in particular of Kalavassos in this period, located near the copper mines. Several settlements dating to the Late Cypriot IIC-Late Cypriot IIIA period (c. 1200 BC) have been excavated, illustrating the prosperity of the island before the upheavals that caused the abandonment, destruction and reconstruction of numerous Late Cypriot locations. Large administrative buildings, built with ashlar blocks, were discovered in Maroni- Vournes and Kalavassos- Ayios Dhimitrios, both abruptly abandoned around 1200 BC, at the end of the Late Cypriot IIC period. In the administrative building of Kalavassos, clay cylinders were found with engraved signs of the Cyprominoic script and a large number of Mycenaean IIIB plates and cups and local imitations, illustrating the importance of this building from which the lord of the region probably administered the exploitation of copper mines. For Cyprus 2015, please check dentistrymyth.com.

Two fortified settlements, one in Pyla- Kokkinokremos on the south-east coast, the other in Maa- Palaeokastro on the west coast, illustrate the troubled period that affected the eastern Mediterranean after the fall of the Mycenaean “ empire ” and the activities of the so-called ” people of the sea ”. The first settlement was abandoned in the face of imminent danger towards or immediately after 1200 BC and was never re-inhabited; the second was destroyed by a fire immediately after 1200, rebuilt and abandoned towards the middle of the 12th century. Rich tombs, dating back to around 1200, have made funeral objects, such as ceramics, bronzes, gold jewels, ivory and alabaster objects. Such tombs were excavated in the area of ​​Palaepaphos, Liomylia. Part of a settlement and tombs from the period around 1200 BC were excavated in Alassa, north of Kourion.

The early Iron Age and the Archaic periods are illustrated by the discoveries made in the tombs of Palaepaphos- Skales. The grave goods were filled with bronze pottery, weapons, tools and jewelery. Phoenician objects found in these tombs show that the wealth of the residents of Palaepaphos in this period derived from trade with the Levantine coast. A bronze obelos found in an 11th-century tomb in this cemetery has an inscription in the Cypriot syllabary, a Greek proper name in the genitive, in a form proper to the Arcadian dialect: it is the first evidence we have of the use of the Greek language in Cyprus.

The cemetery of Amatunte, on the southern coast, has yielded a large amount of objects dating from the Cypro-geometric period to the Roman one. Of particular interest is the ceramics from the tombs, both local of the so-called ” Amatunte style ”, and imported, Greek and Phoenician. The tombs were also rich in terracotta, especially from the 6th century BC, both local and Phoenician. There were also bronze objects, gold and silver jewelry, etc., testifying to the wealth of this cosmopolitan port city.

A classical period building has been partially excavated in the Evreti locality in Palaepaphos; other contemporary buildings have been excavated in Idalion, along with part of the city defense wall. The remains of a sanctuary excavated in Tamassos can be dated to the same period . The early Hellenistic period was further illustrated by the underwater exploration of the port of ancient Amatunte, of which significant parts have been found. The fortifications of Nea Paphos, cut into the rock, of which a large part has been discovered along the western side of the city, with ramps, gates and towers, can be dated to the same period. Rich material from the Roman and Hellenistic periods was found in the tombs of Nea Paphos: these also include the monumental tombs of the part of the necropolis known as ” Tombs of the Kings ”. In Nea Paphos more villas of the Roman age have been found: we remember the ” Casa del Teseo ” with polychrome paved mosaics and the ” House of Aion ”, adjacent to it, with beautiful floor mosaics of the 4th century. AD, depicting mythological scenes. Finally we can mention the discovery of a Roman nymphaeum in Kourion and that of the temple of Aphrodite on the acropolis of Amatunte.

Cyprus excavations