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Dreamer’s Bay ‘a complex commercial coastal settlement’, emerging evidence suggests

Photo: Department of Antiquities (PIO)

This year’s archaeological excavations at Dreamer’s Bay in Akrotiri uncovered several stone-founded structures including a large ovoid with clay floor of uncertain purpose, the antiquities department announced on Wednesday.

The site, it said, appears to have evidence of multiple phases suggesting a fairly extended life over several centuries.

“This fieldwork season has added important elements to the emerging picture of a complex commercial and industrial coastscape at Dreamer’s Bay with a history lasting several centuries,” the department said in a statement.

The north side of the Dreamer’s Bay hilltop complex comprised parallel stone foundations overlain by pottery, roofing materials and coins, suggesting occupation during the Byzantine period, to at least the sixth century, although construction during the Roman period cannot be ruled out, the department said.

Work in the quarry complex comprised of surveys of very well-preserved traces of ancient rock-cutting, producing squared blocks and round millstones from different grades of marine conglomerate.

“Sample excavation was undertaken of heavily eroded masonry structures identified in the quarried landscape, which turned out to have possessed finely plastered walls with simple painted decoration,” the announcement said.

“A ceramic piped water supply probably also related to this complex and provisionally dated to the Roman era (1st-4th c. AD) was recorded. The buildings overlay part of the quarrying, proving that at least some of it was earlier

The hilltop complex, sited at a point commanding a very wide field of view from Kourion 13km to the north, Cape Zevgari to the west and round almost to Cape Gata in the east, would have been extremely well sited both to spot approaching shipping, and to act as a landmark for vessels making landfall at Akrotiri, the antiquities department said.

Structures were accidentally revealed here in the 1980s, and estimated to be of late Antique chronology. The partially exposed remains formed the starting-point for the Ancient Akrotiri Project starting in 2017.

The excavations were led by the University of Leicester under the direction of Professor Simon James. The team consisted of professional excavation staff and undergraduate students from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, in collaboration with colleagues from the Universities of Southampton, Cyprus and Athens. The excavations were conducted between April 4 and 23.

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