Archaeological Investigations at Palaepaphos 2015


 Excavation season 2015
The 2015 excavation season of the Palaepaphos Urban Landscape Project was the most extensive thus far. It lasted for six weeks, between 24th May and 4th July, and focused exclusively on the Hadjiabdullah plateau. Our archaeological investigations were conducted on the plots no. 126 and 139. During the 2015 season we investigated what we have determined as the "Western complex" and the long fortification wall extending to the west of the plateau. The "Western complex" comprises of a series of rooms abutting the fortification wall on its northern side, aligned on a N/NE-S/SW axis. Our ongoing excavations in this area since 2009 indicate that this complex was designed to accommodate the storage units and industrial installations of the royal acropolis. The long wall, extending from the northwestern edge of the Hadjiabdullah plateau, runs at an oblique angle towards the southeast for around 65m. and appears to abut the western façade of the "Palace", the architectural complex that was partially excavated in the 1950s by the British Mission directed by J.H. Iliffe and T.B. Mitford. We refer to this monumental architectural complex as the "Eastern complex", which, unlike the "Western complex", is oriented on a north-south axis.

1. The Hadjiabullah plateau indicating plots excavated 2. Excavated trenches at Hadjiabdullah 2009-2015

Excavation of the Hadjiabdullah fortification wall
Along the northern side of the Hadjiabdullah plateau we investigated the thick wall, interpreted as the robust rampart that safeguarded the acropolis. The fortification wall runs continuously from the northwestern edge of the plateau towards the "Eastern complex". It has a thickness of around 2m., but on its westernmost edge it was widened by the addition of a wall measuring around 1m. in thickness that abutted the inner (southern) side of the rampart. The fortification wall is preserved to around 1.5m. in height. Its foundations lay on a solid layer of marl, which can be traced both on the inside and on the outside faces of the wall.
A number of the stones used for the construction of the long wall at Hadjiabdullah appear to have been in second use. Some of these are ashlar blocks, occasionally with drafted margins, that were cut in smaller fragments. The wall was constructed without the use of any mortar (drywall construction). Large fragments of mudbrick found in association with the wall may correspond to its superstructure that has collapsed.

3. Aerial photo of the fortification wall and the Western complex Fig. 4 - Digital drawing of the fortification wall western part
5. The main wall excavated in HA20 HA27 Fig. 6- The main wall excavated in HA20 HA27 Fig. 7- Inside southern view of the fortification wall

The "Western complex"
At regular intervals, the outside (northern) side of the fortification wall is abutted by long vertical walls. These are relatively narrow (less than 1m. in width) but quite long, extending to up to around 15m and running roughly parallel to each other. The northern limit of these parallel cross-walls is a curtain-wall, that also functions as a buttress, built on the edge of the steep slope. The long cross-walls connect the fortification wall on the south with the curtain wall on the north. The space in between is divided by means of smaller walls, into a series of rooms and corridors. We refer to this architectural arrangement as the "Western complex".

 Fig. 8 - Digital drawing of the Western Complex 2015 excavations. Drawing courtesy of Stella Diakou

The space delineated by the easternmost cross-wall excavated thus far, the curtain-wall on the north and the cross-wall on the west (trenches HA 33-HA32) forms a room with industrial activities pertaining to the processing of olive-oil. The room was paved by a hard plastered floor that is very well preserved. Within this partially excavated room, we have so far exposed two millstones and a significant number of olive pits. The rooms' southernmost delineation will be investigated in the forthcoming season. In order to protect the two millstones, we decided to transfer them to the Kouklia Museum, where they are currently exhibited in the outside courtyard.

Fig. 9 - Excavation of plaster floor Trench HA33 Fig. 10 - The two millstones excavated in trench HA33 Fig. 11 - The 2015 excavation team with the two millstones now at the Kouklia Museum

The filling of each of the "Western Complex" rooms exceeds 1m. in height and comprises of stones and mudbrick that had fallen from the walls' superstructure, as well as elements from the collapsed roof. The filling of the room of Trench HA6 was partly excavated to about half a meter, whereas in the room of Trench HA16 we cleared the debris from the western half.

The most extensively excavated room for the 2015 season was that of trench HA21. The room contained a low stone platform on its northern part, abutting the exterior face of the large fortification wall, that was possibly used for the placement of large storage vessels. The room also contained large fragments of the collapsed building material of what once used to be the flat roofs, with well-preserved white plaster on the outer surface. Imprints of the wooden roof logs and the reeds used for the roofing of the structure are preserved on the inner side of these fragments.
The limited number of rooftiles, especially when compared to the proliferation of flat plaster blocks, suggests that the rooms were covered in their majority with flat roofs with applied layers of white plaster. The rooftiles collected from the entire area of the "Western Complex" are often painted, either with a solid reddish paint, or bear intricate decorations with wavy bands.

Fig. 12 Fragments of the collapsed roof in HA21 Fig. 13 - Fragments from the collapsed roof in Room 21 Fig. 15 - Excavation of the bench in HA21
Fig. 14 - Plaster from the roof with reed impressions Fig. 16 - Rooftile fragment with painted decoration Fig. 17 - Rooftile fragments with painted decoration

Excavations within the room that is defined by trenches HA63 and HA64 revealed a hearth and a large pithos leaning on the room's northern wall, destined to function together. The hearth was partly destroyed by the roof collapse, and contained copious amounts of ash and burnt material.

 Fig. 18 - Plan of the Western complex 2015 excavations Fig. 19. Excavation of the hearth HA63-HA64

Transport amphorae study by Dr Antigone Marangou
The study of the transport amphorae excavated by PULP's fieldwork expeditions at Hadjiabdullah was undertaken by Dr. Antigone Marangou-Lerat, Professor at the University of Rennes, France, who joined the project this year.

Fig. 20 - Stella Diakou excavating the pithos HA63-HA64 Fig. 21 - Antigone Marangou delivering a tutorial on transport amphorae Fig. 22 - Antigone Marangou and a group of students

Professor Marangou has been able to identify several examples of locally produced amphorae of the "basket-handle" type, as well as a plethora of imported specimens. In their majority, imported amphorae found at Hadjiabdullah originate from the Aegean, mostly from Chios, Rhodes, Cos, Thasos and Mende. A neck fragment of a Chian amphora preserves a painted inscription. The royal citadel also imported significant numbers from the Syro-Palestinian coast, Carthage, Asia Minor, Anatolia and Egypt.

Based on the results of this first preliminary study, the earliest amphorae found in the complex at Hadjiabdullah date to the 6th century BC. The numbers of locally made and imported transport vessels proliferate during the Cypro-Classical period. The storage and industrial quarters of Hadjiabdullah continued to be used even after the Paphian dynasty was terminated, perhaps as late as the end of the 2nd century BC, as indicated by a substantial number of imported amphorae dating to the Hellenistic period (from Knidos, Rhodes, Kos and Chios). Our excavations also brought to light a couple of stamped handles of amphorae dating to the 2nd century BC.

Fig. 23 - Neck of a Chian amphora with dipinto Fig. 24 - Handle fragment of a Basket-handle amphora Fig. 25 - Handle fragment of an amphora from Cos Fig. 26 - Detail of a stamped handle fragment
 TEAM 2015
 Fig. 27 - The 2015 excavation team

         Maria Iacovou Director, Professor in Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Univ. of Cyprus
  Artemis Georgiou Assistant Director, Pottery specialist
  Stella Diakou Assistant Field Director
  Paraskevi Christodoulou Post-doctoral researcher, University of Cyprus
  Athos Agapiou Topographer, Technological University of Cyprus
  Panagiota Nicolaou Master Student, University of Cyprus
  Maria Hadjigavriel Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Christiana Christodoulou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Fotini Constantinou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Elisavet Ilieva Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Zinonas Sokratous Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Daniella Georgiou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Raphael Charalambous Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Maria Roussou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Raphael Evzonas Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Paraskevi Psilogeni Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Varvara Stivarou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Andria Efthymiou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Savvina Hadjipanteli Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Maria Katiri Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Giorgos Philippou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Eleni Soteriou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Panagiotis Theodoulou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Alexandra Ioannidou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Christoforos Christofi Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Chrysostomos Polydorou Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
  Paraskevi Achilleos Undergraduate Student, University of Cyprus
Study season 2015

Following the international workshop "Ceramic Identities and Affinities of the Region of Paphos during the Bronze Age" organized within the framework of the research programme ARIEL (, our team undertook a short study season at the Local Kouklia Museum in September. The team comprised Dr Artemis Georgiou, Dr Priscilla Keswani (Independent Researcher) and Dr Eleni Nodarou (INSTAP Study Centre for East Crete). The aim of the study season was to undertake the inter-disciplinary study of the Late Cypriot storage vessels unearthed by PULP at the sites of Laona (excavated between 2012-2014) and Mantissa (excavated in 2012).

Fig. 1 - Eleni Nodarou and Priscilla Keswani working at the Kouklia Museum Fig. 2 - Eleni Nodarou examining the Late Cypriot pithoi from Palaepaphos Fig. 3 - Priscilla Keswani studying the Late Cypriot pithoi from Palaepaphos

Our team has completed the macroscopic and typological analysis of the material. Simultaneously, Dr Eleni Nodarou has taken samples from a number of specimens for the creation of thin sections with the aim of undertaking petrographic analyses. These analyses will be conducted at the laboratory of the INSTAP Study Centre of East Crete.
We have also collected a number of geological samples from different localities within the wider region of Paphos, which will be also analysed by Dr Nodarou at INSTAP, with the aim of determining whether these comprise elements for the manufacture of the Late Cypriot storage vessels examined.

Fig. 4 - Late Brozne Age pithos fragment from Laona Fig. 5 - Late Bronze Age pithos fragment from Laona Fig. 6 - Late Bronze Age pithos fragment from Laona

We anticipate that the results of this inter-disciplinary programme will shed light on the storage practices of the Late Bronze Age urban centre at Palaepaphos, the manufacture and circulation of storage vessels and the affinities of the Palaepaphos settlement with other sites, particularly with Maa-Palaeokastro and Alassa-Paliotaverna.

Fig. 7 - Eleni Nodarou taking sample for analyses Fig. 8 - Taking sample from a marl formation Fig. 9 - Taking sample from an ophiolite formation Fig. 10 - Sample from an ophiolite and mudstone deposit