Cyprus Mail

Every care taken to protect fauna on Geronissos islet

I refer to the article published in the daily new paper Cyprus Mail on 22 May 2018,
with regards to the above subject and I would like to inform you of the following discrepancies.
that were printed:

The letter that was sent to the Department of Antiquities by the Department of
Forests was not a warning, but their expressed opinion on the population decline of the
flora Cistanche phelypaea which was not validated scientifically that the above decline
was due to the [archaeological] excavations conducted on Geronissos Island.

The letter was copied to the Pegeia Municipality for their awareness and that any
protective measures that will be taken for the safeguarding and conservation of the
entire islet (fauna, flora, cultural heritage) will be in close coordination between the
appropriate governmental authorities.

The site excavator Dr Joan Breton Connelly, a leading archaeologist and Professor of
Classics and Art History from the New York University, has been conducting the
excavations on Geronissos Island from 1990, has implemented an Eco-Archaeological
approach to the site, a pioneer movement for which has influenced archaeology
worldwide today.

From the very beginning she conducted a floral and fauna and archaeological survey, in order to identify the rare species that are located on the island with the intention of keeping the disturbance level to a very low minimum. Dr Connelly has not introduced any foreign elements to the island in order to protect the endemic species there and moreover has even increased the number of bird species in the area through the proper management protocols that were implemented by her. She
conducts short archaeological seasons, maintains a small working staff and backfills the excavated trenches so as to revert the natural environment to as it was found.

There has been a scheduled meeting on the island between the site excavator, the
Department of Antiquities and the Department of Forests in order to ensure the
protection of the endemic wildlife on the islet and the continuation’ of the ongoing
excavation due to the important archaeological structures and artefacts discovered on
the island. The islet is important culturally to Cyprus, as the excavations conducted by
Dr Connelly and her team have revealed the continuation in use of the islet dating back
to the Chalcolithic period (3800 BC) and through to the Byzantine-Medieval period (6~
13 century A.D).  Mr Takis Papachristoforou is not the Director of the Department of Forests but a
Chief Forest Officer working for the Department of Forests.

Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, Director, Department of Antiquities


Editor’s note: The article referred to, which was published in the Cyprus Mail, came entirely from the Cyprus News Agency with direct quotes from the forestry official to the state-run news agency. It was also published verbatim in all editions of the Greek-language media in Cyprus



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