Archaeological Excavations 1996 - Panayia Ematousa Aradippou

Excavation carried out in July 1996 by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ανασκαφές Αραδίππου

This is a major archaeological site with two main architectural phases.

The earliest building complex, which dates to the late Classical-early Hellenistic period most probably had more than one storey. The excavation has revealed what seems to be an underground kitchen and storage room area. The many large cut blocks which have been found lying tumbled down in rows represent some of the walls of this building, and stone slabs in an area between them may represent the floor of the upper storey, which fell down when the building was destroyed. Most of the rooms used for storage are rectangular, but another small room, which was found about 20 meters to the south of the main excavation field is semicircular. The walls and the floor are built of large stones covered with plaster, and semicircular steps cut in the rock lead down to the opening, which is flanked by two large stones. Since a stone press and fragments of several large pithoi were found here, it is possible that it is an agricultural installation. If this room and another small room found previously about 25 meters north of the building both belong to it, it was quite an extensive complex.

The building was violently destroyed, probably by an earthquake, and in the 1st century B.C. a new building complex was raised on top of the ruins. The walls enclose a number of rooms, which may be part of one or more building so far covering a n area of more than 100 square meters. The walls were originally covered with white plaster or thin stone slabs, and steps between the rooms consist of stone slabs with holes cut to secure the door posts. Several other features appear to be characteristic of this settlement, among these square stone benches covered with plaster, which may have had a multiple function, boxes built of thin stone slabs and stone built platforms, which were probably used for different working processes. The finds consisting of stone tools, bowls and basins, large amounts of different types of amphora and cooking pots support the impression that this was a farming community of the late Hellenistic to early Roman period, which is so far not documented in Cyprus.


Archaeological Excavations 1997 - Panagia Ematousa, Aradippou

Ανασκαφές Αραδίππου

The fifth excavation season at Panagia Ematousa, Aradippou, under the direction of Lone Wriedt Sorensen, University of Copenhagen was completed.

Three trenches were opened to the north of the previous excavation field. The purpose was to investigate if the door openings in the building complex from the Late Hellenistic-Early Roman period found here in 1996 were leading on to a street, and if the northern extension could be defined.

However, it was verified that the building complex continues in this direction. It also appeared that in this area the bedrock stands at a deeper level and that some of the walls are built  on larger walls from an earlier building. The majority of pottery found in this area dates to the Hellenistic period, but the lower deposits in some areas contained Archaic pottery, which may indicate that the earlier building was originally constructed then. Excavation in this area is not completed, but if these walls belong to the same building as the large ashiar walls found previously towards the south, then the building measures about 23m in a north/south direction. In this part of the excavation a small number of bronze coins, a silver coin probably of Hellenistic date and a bronzw bowl, perhaps an omphalos bowl were found.

Further investigation in the area towards the south, where a trial trench was excavated in 1996, revealed two large boxes built of stone slabs, which were probable used for storage. One of them is connected with an area covered by a large stone slab. The many fragments of large stone basins found in this area indicate that this was a work- and storage area divided into narrow rooms or corridors. Perhaps this unit is confined towards the north by a well preserved wall, oriented east-west. In the excavated area north of it, the soil contained no building debris, which indicates that this was an open area.  

This excavation season has confirmed that the site was inhabited from the Archaic through the Roman period and that it contains two main architectural periods. Although the architecture of the early phases may be compared with that of the so-called palaces, an interpretation is premature. The younger architecture dating to the Late Hellenistic-Early Roman period probably belongs to a village.

The archaeological evidence so far retrieved indicates that the site had different functions in each of the two main architectural periods. The site is not mentioned in the ancient sources, and it was evidently not one of the centres of primary importance in the island, but rather a habitation site of secondary rank in the Late-Hellenistic-Early Roman period. As it is the first time such a site is investigated in Cyprus, it offers new evidence of daily life on the island in antiquity.


Archaeological Excavations 1998 Aradippou - Panagia Ematousa

This year’s excavation at Aradippou-Panagia Ematousa was completed.The excavation works were carried out by the University of Copenhagen, under the direction of Prof. Lone Sorensen.

Work was concentrated in the northern part of the main excavation area and to the south in the area connecting it to the smaller area excavated on the southern slope of the hill. In the north western part of the excavation where the bedrock seems to appear at a lower level than at the central part, walls were found which connect with those found during the 1997 season. They are built of large uncut stones, and form smaller units. In one of these units a circular stone built container originally covered by plaster was found. It was filled with soil, but may originally have been used for storing purposes. Pottery found in this area indicates that the habitation in this area goes back to at least the Classical period, and a small gem stone with a head in Classical style was found in this area. In the north eastern part of the excavation a pit was found, which contained a well constructed wall about 1.5 m. high. The wall cuts the pit into two halves, and an opening constructed of ashlars leads from the north into the western half. The pottery dates the filling to about 150 - 50 B.C. Another pit is situated immediately to the west. Only part of it was excavated, but it seems to reach the same depth and was filled with bones of various sorts of animals, stones and pottery. The pottery in the lowest levels dates to the 2nd century B.C. Certain features recall that of the other subterranean chambers found during previous seasons. They are suggested to be cellars, but further investigations are required in order to understand the construction of the new structures.

Excavation towards the south verified that the hill was occupied by one contiguous habitation, except for an area where the bedrock appears to lie immediately below surface soil. Here the walls are well preserved. They are built of two rows of field stones, cut on the exterior face and covered with well preserved plaster. Like the other walls in the excavation built in a similar fashion, they are associated with Hellenistic/Early Roman pottery, and appear to belong to a later phase of the habitation. One room was filled in and covered by a floor consisting of very coarse mortar to form an even surface, and from here other small entities continue southwards on a lower level. This part of the excavation may represent a work area, since many stone tools of various kinds have been found here.

 The investigations this season reconfirm that a village was located at the site. It probably functioned as a place of communication between the larger cities of Kition at the coast and Idalion further inland. Again ample evidence of external communication was found, and another 10 bronze coins have been added to the series of coins found at the site, which cover a time span from the Classical to the Byzantine period, but with the majority dating to the Ptolemaic period. The site offers an opportunity to study a peripheral habitation, where the inhabitants according to the finds of various stone tools produced various agricultural products, but prospered enough to use metal for a variety of objects and drinking imported wine from cups made in other parts of the Mediterranean following the main trends of the city centres of the island.