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Small piece of pottery with a big meaning unearthed in Paphos

University of Cyprus archaeologists working at the Palaipaphos site at Hadjiabdoulla

Excavations in Paphos this year have unearthed a major discovery of a very small size – a piece of pottery with an inscription that shows that the ancient kings of Paphos kept an economic archive.

The department of antiquities announced on Wednesday that during the annual dig at the plateau of Hadjiabdoulla, one kilometre east of the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia, University of Cyprus researchers found the sherd or piece of pottery which carried an inscription in black ink. The site dates back to the Classical period (5th to 4th centuries BC)

“The inscription, which is in the Greek syllabary of Cyprus, preserves a fragmentary list with quantities of products and it reveals that the kings of Paphos were keeping an economic archive,” the announcement said.

“To this day, the only other royal citadel where such an archive has been identified is that of Idalion, where hundreds of inscriptions were found in the Phoenician alphabet. The Palaepaphos sherd inscription will redefine many historical facts concerning the economic management system of the Cypriot city-states.”

The project has been running since 2006 and has brought to light new monuments on the plateau. Unknown until recently, the buildings functioned as the administrative-economic centre of the royal dynasty of ancient Paphos.

To this day, the team has excavated 930m² – about 30 per cent of the extent of the complex.

The department has decided to take temporary measures to protect the material remains of the Hadjiabdoulla complex. To prevent deterioration of stone, mudbrick and plastered features, the most sensitive units have been reburied.

In 2020 the excavation of the complex will continue towards the east.

 

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