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Cyprus

Intriguing device to measure lunar calendar unearthed at Yeronisos

A large complex used for food preparation, distribution and storage facilities plus an “intriguing device” for keeping track of the 30-day lunar calendar were investigated during the latest excavations in the islet of Yeronisos off Paphos.

The complex was built along the southern edge of the island during the final years of Ptolemaic-Egyptian rule on Cyprus, the antiquities department said.

It said that four weeks of excavations had just been completed with a focus on the complex used for food preparation, distribution and storage facilities built along the southern edge of the island.

The excavations were carried out by the New York University Yeronisos Island Expedition under the direction of Joan Breton Connelly. An international team of senior staff members and students excavated within the island sanctuary of Apollo, just opposite Agios Georgios tis Pegeias.

The rubble of a wall with an associated plaster floor was unearthed, dated to the first century BC Excavations also revealed fine Hellenistic pottery deposited up against this wall, including a skyphos-bowl of “Koan-Knidian” type, produced in local materials. Eight Chalcolithic pounder stones, a mortar and flints found on the floor give evidence of Hellenistic reuse of Chalcolithic tools, the department said.

During the four weeks, Professor Jolanta Mlynarczyk of the University of Warsaw continued her study of Yeronisos pottery, while Dr Mariusz Burdajewicz worked on his publication of the Yeronisos glass finds.

Dr Alaria Bultrighini of University College London began her study of a rare stone parapegma unearthed on Yeronisos, “an intriguing device” for keeping track of the 30-day lunar calendar. Dr Paul Croft of the Lemba Archaeological Field Station supervised excavations within the Central South Complex and continued his study of the Yeronisos animal bones. Architect Richard Anderson undertook a 3-D digital survey of the island’s architectural remains the department said.

“The 2015 season included new and important work on the mainland opposite Yeronisos where a surface survey was undertaken, stretching from Maniki Harbor at the south to the acropolis of Agios Georgios tis Pegeias at the north,” it added.

The relationship of Yeronisos to the mainland settlement is now a major focus of the work, it said.

Yeronisos, also known as ‘Holy Island’, due to its remoteness from the mainland has preserved its treasures. The 12,000 square metre rock, flourished during the late Hellenistic period and its soil has produced coins, pottery, glass objects, inscriptions and important architectural remains.

The New York University archaeological mission has suggested that the island appeared to have been devastated by an earthquake during approximately the 1st century B.C and life returned to the island again during the 6th century A.D, when a reservoir and animal shelters were constructed.

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