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Australian team completes Paphos dig
AUSTRALIAN archaeologists have announced the end of their excavations in Nea Paphos uncovering more of the mediaeval walls built on top of an ancient theatre, and exploring a water fountain a stone’s throw away.
A team of 20 archaeologists and students from the University of Sydney opened up two trenches between October 1 and 28 at the site, which marks the spot which was once the capital of the island during the Roman and Hellenistic period.
The team kept a blog throughout the excavations, documenting progress and giving specialists space to explain their role.
“As a supervisor this year, I’d like to motivate my team with helpful phrases like ‘dig harder’… Only joking, everyone is hugely enthusiastic and working as a smooth, well-oiled machine in the trenches,” Rhian Jones wrote on October 5.
The theatre was build around 300BC when the city of Nea Paphos was founded. But earthquakes in the fourth century AD eventually spelled its demise.
The team also explored the nymphaeum - a water fountain house probably built in the first century AD – where people could get fresh cool water.
The nymphaeum was close to the north-eastern city gates and near the theatre’s main entrance.
The team’s main job however was to completely record and interpret finds from previous seasons for an academic publication of the architectural history of the theatre, expected in two years.
The Nea Paphos site is home among others to the House of Dionysus and the House of Orpheus, Greco-Roman house types arranged around a central court; the Villa of Theseus built over the ruins of earlier Hellenistic and early Roman periods; the Agora, whose foundations still remain; one of the largest basilicas built in the fourth century AD; and a Byzantine castle.
Find out more at the Communications and Works Ministry site at www.mcw.gov.cy (click on the antiquities department on the sidebar) or check out the blog of the Australian Mission which has been coming back since the nineties at www.paphostheatre.com.