The website devoted to Cypriot archaeology.
The island of Cyprus at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has a rich and varied archaeological heritage reflecting its unique position as a crossroads for some of the great civilisations of the world. The island could be seen from the Levantine and Anatolian coasts but would need great personal effort and hardship to be 'colonised'. The cultures that did develop on Cyprus through time quickly formed the unique cultural identities that so often occur on islands when there is a barrier to communication. They found their own path as they were shaped by the geology, geography, flora, fauna and simply 'Cyprusness' of their surroundings. During prehistory the island was influenced by the Pharaohs of Egypt to the south, the Mesopotamian kingdoms to the east, the Hittite empire to the north and the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of the west. It is this unique fusion of cultures and influences that is one of the great joys of Cypriot archaeology.
If you are interested in unique pieces of art and the first flourishing of complex societies on Cyprus then look no further than the Chalcolithic period ca. 3900-2500 BCE. The name chalcolithic refers to copper artefacts which first make their appearance alongside stone implements.
Living took place in roundhouses which show some evidence of subdivision into zones of activity. Burial of the dead seems to be a key rite in their culture and graves can contain beautiful stone figurines and pendants made from a local stone called picrolite. The figure to the right is a famous example which is shown wearing a pendant.
The University of Edinburgh have conducted experiments at the site of Lemba Lakkous to rebuild some of these roundhouses. The Lemba Experimental Village (6km north of Paphos) is open to the public.
If you click on the Periods link on the Navigation panel to the left then this gives brief details on the cultural phases of Cyprus. Teams of archaeologists both from the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus as well as foreign missions are constantly working on new excavations to help add to our knowledge and refine our understanding of Cypriot archaeology. A number of websites that have further details on these excavations can be found by following the Projects link.
The Sites section provides short details on some of the main sites on Cyprus that can be visited.
The Books and Guides link provides information on some of the travel guides to Cyprus as well as a number of books that specifically address Cypriot archaeology.
There has been a wealth of artefactual evidence collected over the years from the excavations and digs on Cyprus and there are Municipal Museums in the major cities. There are also specialist museums as well as the Museums of private collectors. Full details can be found by following the Museums link.
I have also included some information on Villas and Car hire in Cyprus to help your stay in Cyprus.
|The cover and site of the Neolithic settlement of Kalavassos Tenta||Temple of Apollo Hylatas at Kourion|
|Lower city of Kourion||The Lusignan Manor House and now Museum at Kouklia|