Paphos UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Ten years ago I participated in the Athienou Archaeological Project in Cyprus as my introduction to archaeological fieldwork, particularly excavation.  Part of the field school was traveling throughout Cyprus to gain a better understanding of the prehistory and history of the island.  On one of the field visits, we explored Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.  Kato Pafos, or Paphos, is a beautiful archaeological park that includes beautiful mosaic floors from four different Roman villas.    There are a number of monuments in the archaeological park (a whole other blog post to be), such as a huge necropolis.  But back to the mosaics.  The mosaics are the following: The House of Dionysus, Theseus, Aion, Orpheus, and Four Seasons.  They date between the second century AD and fourth century AD.

The necropolis at Kato Paphos is a fantastic combination of completely creepy tombs and unique history.  The use of the tombs has varied, from a necropolis to a home for squatters.  The Tomb of the Kings (Tafoi ton Vasileon)—named for it’s impressive structure although there isn’t any evidence of a king being buried there—was built during the Hellenistic period, sometime during the 3rd century BC.  It was used as a burial area through the Roman era until the Medieval period, when the necropolis was used as a quarry and home for squatters.  All that is left are the niches and rooms for human remains.

For more information:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/79

http://www.visitpafos.org.cy/Paphos_Mosaics.aspx

Favorites in Archaeology: Salamis, Cyprus

I had the opportunity to explore the extensive Roman ruins of Salamis, which is considered one of the best archaeological sites on Cyprus, while traveling around North of the UN Buffer Zone. While wandering around the ruins, it is easy to imagine the bustling city it once was. Salamis became the ancient capital of Cyprus as far back as 11 BC by the Greeks and was subsequently occupied by a number of civilizations (i.e. Egyptians to Romans). Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian commissioned some of the buildings; construction was conducted primarily after an earthquake in 76 AD. There are Romans baths, mosaics, an amphitheater etc. The city was destroyed by an invasion around 674 AD, forcing the occupants to the area around Famagusta/the southern half of Cyprus.

The site was looted constantly until 1952, when excavations by the Department of Antiquities began. Excavations were halted in the summer of 1974, when Turkish forces invaded Cyprus and subsequently occupied the area. Government officials of the Republic of Cyprus have long been concerned about the treatment of this archaeological site, since it is located in the Turkish Republic of Cyprus. Hopefully, UNESCO can declare Salamis a World Heritage Site someday. Archaeological sites tend not to fare well when it comes to war and politics.

Links:

http://www.mcw.gov.cy/mcw/DA/DA.nsf/0/2A17F73DAB6246A3C225727600322BA3?OpenDocument

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamis,_Cyprus

http://www.herts.ac.uk/heritage-hub/history-on-the-move/articles/salamis