Archaeologists have discovered the oldest houses of ancient Nea Paphos in Cyprus

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest houses of ancient Nea Paphos in Cyprus

The oldest remains of the ancient city of Nea Paphos in Cyprus were discovered by Warsaw archaeologists during excavations. Dating from before ca. 2.4 thousand. years fragments of walls and floors are found in the part of the city inhabited by the richest.

Paphos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Cyprus. During the Greco-Roman period, it served as the capital of the island's. It was established in its western part at the end of the 4th century. p.n.e. Due to its importance, the site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

– During the recent excavation season, we were able to reach some of the earliest structures erected in this ancient city," Dr. Henryk Meyza of the Institute of World Cultures told PAPóThe International Center for Maritime and Oriental Studies (ICIO) of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Teamół led by him examines the residential district's. The first time a shovel was driven here by the doyen of Polish archaeology śróThe childhood of the Moravian, prof. Kazimierz Michalowski in 1965. The work of the mission of the Center for Middle Archaeologyódean of the UW, now under the direction of Dr. Meyza, are being conducted in the same area.

Located on the site surveyed by Polakóin the area extensive and luxurious buildings functioned for almost a thousand years, from the 4th c. p.n.e. By the seventh century. n.e.

– From the beginning they were erected on a regular grid of streets, whichóra delineated plots of approx. 100 by 35 m. Houses in subsequent decades were rebuilt and erected in a similar layout. This happened róalso due to the fact that the construction of this district was preceded by the forging of a drainage system in the stone bed and was used throughout the city's history, says Dr. Meyza.

The puzzling house

In recent years, the efforts of the Warsaw team of Polish archaeologistsóIn Cyprus (the other complexół under the direction of prof. Ewdoksi Papuci-Władyki of the Institute of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University are studying the agora of the city) focused on the excavations within one of the house'sów, called by them "Hellenistic" (from the preliminary determination of its age precisely on the IV-I century. p.n.e.). As in the case of other housesóin the area its layout was quite simple – the buildings were concentrated around theół three courtyardsów, of whichóof which the central, square in plan was surrounded by a colonnade, and in the middle was an ogród.

– House have admittedly been studied since the 1980s. 1980s., but due to its considerable stylistic heterogeneity it still posed a puzzle for us. Only in recent years have we learned how numerous were the remodels and changes in its layout. The central part originally housed pools of róof different sizes, and the largest, square in plan, had a side length of approx. 7 m. The last phase of the development, with a garden, was not built until the end of the 1st century. or early 2nd century. n.e., and therefore already in the Roman period – mówi Dr. Meyza.

Without destroying the póThe wallów archaeologists prób were able to get to the deepest layers, in któThe central part originally housed pools of water, where the most ancient buildings are hidden at the same time. It turned out that these were built at a time in which theórych the city was founded, i.e. at the turn of the fourth/third century. p.n.e. (which is known from the sourceówritten sources).

This is the last król of the independent ancient Cypriot state of Paphos was the founder of this city, says Dr. Meyza. The previous residence (Palea Paphos – from the Latin. Old Paphos) ceased to serve its function headó(notably because it no longer had access to the port. Meanwhile, the site of the new location (hence Nea Paphos, or New Paphos) was supplied with a convenient harbor, and later still large piers were built.

The archaeologist stresses that the uncovered house fragments from the first centuries of the city's existence are not aesthetically captivating, but they provide insight into the óearly architecture.

Nea Paphos – one of the largest centers ofóin the naval fleet

– The discovered relics of the first housesów erected within the residential district do not impress with the craftsmanship of their workmanship. The floors were staves made of clay. Only in póThe houses of today have been replaced with stone slabs or meticulously crafted mosaics, says Dr. Meyza.

Unfortunately, scientists are unable to reconstruct the probable appearance of Nea Paphos at the time of its construction. This is because excavations are carried out only in such places, whichóre make it possible to look beneath the surface of the earth in such a wayób so as not to damage the quite well-preserved relics of theóin the wallów z póLater timesów. These are therefore the mainównie empty courtyards, but already on this basis it was possible to make some findings.

– In time, the new capital became, next to Egyptian Alexandria, the largest naval center of the Hellenistic period. ÓEarly Cyprus had a large supply of wood for the construction of large shipsóin, mainlyównie cedarów and, among other reasons, was a valuable acquisition for the governmentóin the rulers from Egyptóin the Ptolemaic dynasty, whichóers have contributed to the expansion of the city and raised its profile. Nevertheless, most of the visible relicsów comes from póThe timeów – says Dr. Meyza.

Scientist estimates that róhe international archaeological missions operating within Nea Paphos for several decades have surveyed at most 10 percent of the. city area. – Therefore, many spectacular discoveries may be yet to come," she concludes.

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