The Directorate of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Public Works announces the completion of the 2022 field campaign in Kouklia-Marchello site by the Department of History and Archeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). The excavations were led by Associate Professor Konstantinos Kopanias, who specializes in Eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern archaeology. The excavation team consisted of 25 undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students and was funded by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the NKUA.
Earlier excavations at the site of Marchello were carried out by a British mission (1950-55) and a Swiss-German mission (1966-73, 1985, 1992-95), as well as by the University of Cyprus (2006-08). These first investigations revealed part of the monumental defensive enclosure of the site, they nevertheless remained incomplete. The main objective of the NKUA research program at Marchello is to unearth the remaining part of this extraordinary and important monument and also to confirm the chronology and nature of its architectural remains. Considering that it is a complex and monumental building complex, the NKUA project is based on a long-term plan.
The NKUA investigations in Kouklia-Marchello are made with the application of various modern technological means such as GIS applications and aerial photography. In addition, archaeometric analyzes are being organised, with regard to the study of raw bricks and metallic objects. The 2022 excavations focused on the detailed study of the wall’s stratigraphy, leading to important new, albeit preliminary, findings. New evidence indicates that the oldest phase of the wall is not dated to the Cypro-Archaic period, but most likely corresponds to a late Cypriot II horizon (i.e. 14th-13th c. BC). .-VS.). The next study of the pottery should provide more certain evidence on the chronology of the site.
Excavations in 2022 unearthed exciting new finds, including a double burial dating to the early 12th century BC. This double burial was unearthed in an “open cave” type tomb, known from the Aegean Sea (especially Crete) in the Late Bronze Age. The tomb consists of a vertical shaft, at the bottom of which a niche has been dug. A man (about 30 years old) and a woman (about 25 years old) were placed inside the niche at the same time. Studying the human, animal and plant remains, along with the other finds, should offer valuable new insights into 12th century BC Cyprus, a period dubbed the “years of crisis” in the eastern Mediterranean. Elsewhere on the site, a pit was unearthed, where a dismembered horse had been placed, probably during the Cypro-Geometric period. This is an extremely rare find, which will provide new data for the study of funerary customs from the Cypro-Geometric period.
Of major significance is the fact that the new project is carried out in close collaboration with the Palaepaphos Urban Landscape Project (PULP) of the University of Cyprus, under the direction of Professor Maria Iacovou. The cooperation between the two experienced teams contributes to the protection and scientific promotion of antiquities in the wider area of Palaepaphos.
The third annual NKUA excavation season at Kouklia-Marchello will take place in 2023.