By Annette Chysostomou
The University of Cyprus archaeological research unit has shed new light on the architectural structure and main use of the crafts and storage section of the ancient palace of the last royal dynasty of Paphos, it said.
The remains of the monumental palace complex are located on the outskirts of the village of Kouklia on the plateau of Hadjiabdoulla, a short distance to the east of the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palepaphos.
The stone monument under investigation, with walls of over one metre, is part of the fortified citadel, which was identified in the research programme Archaeology of Landscape led by professor Maria Iacovou since 2006.
The western complex consists of a long wall which is three metres thick and runs through the plateau at a length of 65 metres. 15 metres north of the wall, and at the edge of the steep slope of the cliff is an outwork which doubles as a retaining wall. A row of parallel struts connects the wall to the outworks converting the distance between them into a usable space divided into several rooms. Each room had a specific use and most appear to have contained specialised areas of the production and storage of products.
In the eastern part of the complex the researchers started to excavate an olive-oil press. So far they have located two millstones and a large number of olive pips.
A second facility, the excavation of which is also not complete, consists of a carved stone tub located at a narrow ledge between stone pipes. Elsewhere, the increased concentration of scoria indicates metallurgical activity.
The identification of amphorae was made by Cypriot Professor at the University of Rennes in France, Antigoni Marangou, who is participating in the Palepaphos programme this year. The oldest amphorae, chronologically linked with the construction of the complex belong to the sixth century BC.
Like the other dynasties of Cypriot kingdoms, the Paphian one was abolished in the late fourth century by Ptolemy Soter. However, the concentration of a considerable amount of amphorae of the Hellenistic period, imported from Knidos, Rhodes, Kos and Chios, shows that the use of the storage and industrial installations of the citadel continued until the end of the second century BC.
“The excavation and study of the palace complex of ancient Paphos with modern methods is crucial for Cypriot archaeology, especially today that two other palatial complexes – Amathus and Dali – are under study. The comparative analysis of the three will be the basis for the interpretation of political economy of Cypriot city-kingdoms,” said the announcement.
The rector of the University of Cyprus, professor Constantinos Christofides noted that despite the economic crisis and cuts in budgets, the University of Cyprus had retained almost the whole budget earmarked for the archaeological excavations.