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Archaeological finds in Palaipaphos show extensive trade networks

University of Cyprus archaeologists working at the Palaipaphos site at Kouklia

FINDINGS in Palaipaphos have been able to establish the extensive trade networks of the island from the end of the 4th century BCE to the 2nd century BCE, the antiquities department announced on Thursday following the conclusion of this year’s digs conducted by the University of Cyprus.

The university’s archaeological team uncovered a complex 5th century BCE architectural unit during their excavations this year at the plateau of Hadjiabdoulla, east of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite.  The excavations at the site are the 13th field project carried out by the university at Kouklia.

“According to the results of the Ancient Paphos landscape analysis project, which has been running since 2006, the Hadjiabdoulla plateau was the administrative-economic centre (i.e. the acropolis) of Ancient Paphos during the Cypro-Classical period,” the antiquities department said.

The structure, uncovered by the university’s team, was built by the royal family in Paphos at the time, the department added, saying it was the centre of the ancient city’s economic administration.

In unit one of the site, a storage area was found that contained large quantities of local and importer amphorae (mainly wine amphorae) from Carthage, Egypt, the coast of Lebanon, Syria, Aegean islands (mainly Thasos, Kos, Mende, Rhodes, and Chios) and the coast of Asia Minor (Ephesus, Samos, Miletus).  The antiquities department said that these finds reflect “the extent of trade networks maintained by ancient Paphos.”

In units 3 and 4 investigations have confirmed the production of olive oil.

The unit’s production and storage facilities are located in corridors that develop outside the acropolis walls. Currently, 65 metres of the fortification wall have been revealed, as well as six different units and communication corridors.

The aim of the 2018 excavations was to complete investigations in units 2, 5 and 6, as well as of the corridor in the east, which communicates with these.

Large quantities of murex shells were collected from the entire surface area of unit 2.

Units 5 and 6 to the north, are part of an industrial installation, which is situated between two parallel retaining walls, under which stone pipes have been excavated, which lead to a stone bathtub in unit 6. Due to the lack of macroscopic data from the pipes and the bathtub, it is not yet certain what these monumental installations were producing.

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