Season 2019

The Paphos Agora Project (PAP) of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków has been conducting research on the Agora in Paphos since 2011 under the guidance of Prof. E. Papuci-Władyka. Since 2015, the project has been examining the economic infrastructure and economic activity of the city, not only on the basis of excavations in the Agora itself, but also outside of it, throughout the entire Archaeological Site of Kato Paphos, based on prospection by non-invasive geophysical methods.

In the 2019 season, the PAP’s research took place in August-September with the participation of researchers from the Warsaw Technical University and the University of Hamburg. Two main goals were set: 1/ determining the size of the Agora in the north, and 2/ identifying streets flanking it from the north and from the east. Excavations were carried out at four points. The main research focused on three trial trenches (TT): on TT.VI started in 2018, and on two new ones founded in 2019 on the basis of the results of a geophysical prospection carried out in previous seasons.  The first is TT.VII located on the north extension of the West Portico of the Agora, the second is TT.VIII on the north extension of the East Portico. Whereas the fourth point, where excavations were carried out, was in   TT.II, i.e. the East Portico, where the research was continued within the room, R.22, discovered last year, and whose exploration has not been completed.

Of the research tasks mentioned above, the second goal was met. In all trial trenches, it was possible to reveal either the street surfaces themselves (in TT.VIII) or the infrastructure associated with them (channels and collector in TT.VI and TT.VII). However, the northern border of the porticos was not discovered. An important result of the research was achieved in  TT.VIII, i.e. the confirmation of the further route of the street marked as P in the city plan reconstructed by J. Młynarczyk (1990), which was also revealed  to the south of the Theatre by the expedition from Sydney in Australia. The PAP research in this year's season has also positively verified the route of street no. 1a, which is an extension of the internal line of the Agora’s West Portico (in TT.VII). However, street no. 2a was discovered in a slightly different place than it would appear from the reconstruction of Młynarczyk - about 20 m to the east (TT.VI).

It should be emphasised that the studied area had been levelled in many places and subjected to robbery exploration, which has hindered the exploration and interpretation by the PAP. The recreation of the history of the studied area was also impeded by the unexpected discovery of several skeletal burials (TT.VII) dug into earlier structures. At present, not much can be said about the nature of this small necropolis. It cannot be ruled out that it may be related to a potentially existing basilica, which may have been located a little further to the NW from  TT.VII. The existence of this basilica was suggested during the initial analysis of geomagnetic research carried out as part of the PAP by the University of Hamburg in that area in 2016. More can be said once the research using the C14 method of dating on the remains of graves, primarily the wooden casket from grave 2, has been completed. It seems that the above-mentioned features, discovered in 2019, can be dated to the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods, while the cemetery could rather be dated to the late Roman period.

In parallel with the excavations, a small-scale geophysical survey, as well as the preservation of the metal objects and studies on cleaned metal objects and coins have been continued. In addition, in early spring, a short study campaign on the anthropological material discovered during excavations in previous years was done.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka

Season 2018

In 2018, the first stage of PAP research took place in the Spring (April-May) when a small group of researchers, as well as the photographer and illustrator took part in the study season.

The excavation campaign (from the 8th of August until the 23rd of September) took place both in the Agora, in the regular Trench II (T.II) and within four Trial Trenches: TT.III and TT.IV – a continuation from 2017, as well as TT.V and TT.VI newly established this year.

The TT.V was initiated south of the Agora to verify the results of the geomagnetic research done in 2017. These prospections suggested that the South Portico of the Agora was a complex building consisting of at least three rows of rooms. The TT.V was established at the intersection of two hypothetical lines of the building's walls. The first, on the E-W axis, on the extension of the southern wall of the so-called Asklepieion located southwest of the Agora (and south of the Odeon). The second one - on the axis of the wall S.112 – exposed in the East Portico (so far treated as the eastern wall of this building). Also in T.II, an extension to the E was made of the area explored in the previous year by the eastern entrance to the Agora, in order to verify the hypothesis of the double-line design of the East Portico. In the extended area, the remains of the foundation of the eastern wall of the portico were discovered, thus confirming this theory.

The works in T.II had also been done in the northern part of the East Portico where the new, quite substantial room, R.22, was discovered with an open channel inside (of an unknown, as yet, function). It can probably be dated to the age of Emperor Augustus. Further to the north, a well S.233, adjacent to R.22, was uncovered and explored: its chronology is also Early Roman. Another well was also explored, S.144, which had already been uncovered in R.8 of the East Portico in 2012. Inside it, along with stones, pottery sherds etc., human remains were also discovered (as in Well S.50 in T.I dated ca. 150 years earlier).

In TT.III, situated in the so-called fosse outside of the NW city gate, the aim of the research was two-fold. Firstly, to verify geomagnetic surveys indicating here the possible functioning of parallel masonry structures presumably connected with the second harbour of Paphos. Secondly, to check the geoarcheological drillings indicating a small (up to 60 cm) thickness of sedimentation layers, which have been asserted to falsify the abovementioned hypothesis about the existence in this area of a harbour basin put forward by the French expedition. Both geomagnetic and geoarcheological data have turned out to be incorrect. The layers with archaeological material were very thick, the bedrock was only reached at a depth of ca. 2.5m, and the abovementioned masonry structures have not been found. The bedrock had been worked, so it could be confirmed once again that this area had been used as quarry (as was discovered in the area explored in TT.I and TT.II in the previous year). So, the question of the destination of this moat (or fosse), remains open and requires further research. However, it should be emphasised that it is crucial to understand the geomorphological processes that led, as in the area further to the north, where TT.I and TT.II are located, to this whole extensive area being covered with a thick layer of sand.

In the current excavation year, research was also carried out in the area of TT.IV, whose main constituent is a lime kiln, probably dating back to the Late Roman or Early Byzantine period. It was decided to extend the studied area to the west in order to reveal the inlet channel, which was successfully made, thus revealing the entire structure under investigation. The preliminary analysis showed that the kiln had to have been partially built into the slope - perhaps the collapsed wall of a large building erected south of it (which could also have served as a supplier of the raw material for the smelting of lime). The very construction of the furnace also destroyed a very large wall running on the east-west line, preserved in the form of a single line of huge stone blocks located directly on the bedrock levelled for that purpose. Its execution is extremely meticulous. It is therefore possible that it is a remnant of the city wall, perhaps even from the Hellenistic period. Confirmation of this, however, requires further research.

The second trial trench, TT.VI, whose exploration began in 2018, is located northeast of the Agora, on the expected line of one of the city's main streets, as evidenced by the results of the geomagnetic research. Exploration, however, is in its preliminary stage – so only the modern strata have been explored.

Geophysical prospection and the geoarchaeological research have also been continuing, as well as the conservation works (on coins and metal objects and also on Roman shoes found in 2016).

The promotion of the project included two events. The first was the opening of a photographic exhibition in Nicosia (November 14, 2018) in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and the Polish Embassy in Nicosia. The second was the publication of the bilingual Polish-English book "The mystery of the city of Aphrodite: Archaeological heritage versus new technologies" under the patronage of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, thanks to the financial support of the City of Krakow and in cooperation with the Archaeologica Foundation, whose promotion took place in November in the Collegium Novum Hall of the Jagiellonian University.

In summary, the most important and sensational discovery of 2018 season was the that the Agora was much larger than had been assumed until now. The data obtained in both TT.V and T.II allowed us to state first of all, that the stoai associated with the tetrastoon of the Agora were much larger than originally thought: the East Portico was double in the size and the South Portico - triple. The entire Agora, with the accompanying structures, could now be described as a square with sides of about 160 metres and not about 97 m, as determined by K. Nikolaou. It actually occupied an area of about 2.5 ha, and not one ha, as assumed previously. This puts the Agora in Paphos amongst some of the largest in the Hellenistic world. Secondly, in the light of our research, the interpretation of the architectural complexes of the so-called Asklepieion and Odeon, unveiled in the western part of Agora in the 1970s, must be revisited.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka

Season 2017

Firstly, a two month’s study campaign during April and May took place, having as its main aim, the study of the material excavated in the previous years. The documentation, description, drawings, photos etc. were done in order to prepare the studied material for our publication (the first volume of the new series, Paphos Agora Project). The second aim of the spring season was the continuation of the verification of the hypothesis claiming that the second harbour of Paphos could have operated at the NW bay, close to the NW city gate. The geophysical, non-invasive prospection done there in 2016, showed two large rectangular interferences which were interpreted as buildings, as well as some linear structures: all potentially linked with the hypothetical harbour. Based on these observations, three Trial Trenches (TT) were delineated with the aim of verifying the magnetic research results. Only two of them were partly excavated during the spring season. The TTIV was traced just north of the N city wall because of circular interference seen in the magnetic prospection, but not excavated in spring (see below). Aerial photos were also taken with the use of an UAV (popularly called a drone), as well as some preservation works on the terrain and on some selected objects of material culture (pottery).

The main campaign took place during the late summer and early autumn. It comprised the inventarisation, excavation works, geophysics, geoarchaeology, preservation of metal objects and the preservation of various features on the site, as well as the promotion of the project. The excavation season lasted from the 25th of August until the 4th of October. After this period was completed, the promotional events took place and following these, many of the expedition's members participated in a conference devoted to Nea Paphos and the region.

Before the main campaign, the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków’s team (project BARI XVI) of students and staff in collaboration with the Paphos Agora Project had completed the inventarisation of the architectonic details, as well as of the selected pottery excavated in the Agora, the non-invasive measurements on the Agora and details of the other places accessible for the tourists in the Archaeological site of Kato Paphos.

Excavations were conducted in the Agora itself and in the Trial Trenches reported above. In the Agora, Trenches II and IV were explored. In T.II, the exploration was done in southern part of the East Portico in R.14 (partly excavated in previous years) and in the newly uncovered, R.20, with an area of almost 13 sq. m. Undoubtedly, the most interesting finding in R.20 was the fragment of a monumental limestone block, probably part of the architrave, with a partially preserved (only four letters) Latin inscription. It is not possible to draw any conclusion from it, but the ashlar comes without doubt from a large public building (or monument) and the inscription was done carefully and accurately. The research of 2017 and the preliminary studies on the excavated movable material confirm the statements about the Hellenistic date of the Eastern Portico and the date of its last phase to the 1st half of the 2nd century AD made by the JU research team.

Another area which was excavated in T.II is situated in the axis of the eastern entrance to the Agora. The main objective of the research was to determine whether the portico continues to the east with a third row of rooms or corridors, or maybe whether the street should flank the East Portico from this site. A continuation of the large drainage sewer, S.153, was found with four, big slabs covering it. In the debris layer above it, two fragments of partly preserved Greek inscriptions incised on marble slabs were found. One of them is accompanied by the depiction of an ivy leaf that suggests the Dionysiac context. In the southern part of the excavation, a complex water management system consisting of two interconnected pools and a pipe was uncovered. The pools had been covered with hydraulic mortar on bedding, constructed from fragments of carefully selected roof tiles. The system was partly destroyed when the walls collapsed. It cannot be excluded that this newly uncovered system was connected with the sewer, S.153, the system of the pool, canalisation and the well uncovered in R.8, but this topic requires further study.

The third area excavated in T. II was the well (or cistern), S.117, already found in 2011 and situated in the square inside the Agora, west from the entrance, on the axis of sewer S.153. The aim of this exploration was the establishment of the chronology of this object, as well as its relation to S.153. In the upper part, the filling of the well was dry and consisted of stones and blocks and some ceramic material. In the lower part, there was much more ceramic material, but it was very crushed and very wet, immersed in dense clay soil. Two very well-preserved dice (gaming pieces) made of bone were also discovered. The well was almost 6m deep. The preliminary analysis of the ceramic material showed that the well was functioning during the first half of the 2nd century AD.

The last area to be excavated in the Agora itself was Trench IV. In R.30, the exploration of a pit was continued, situated at the western boundary of the trench. It was probably an oven for the melting of metal. It was dug into the earth and functioned in the first phase of the utilisation of this area, which was during the reign of Emperor Augustus when this area formed one complete space (later, probably in the second half of the 1st century AD, it was divided into two rooms, labelled Room 30 and 31).

During the main campaign of the excavations, the continuation of works in Trial Trenches was also done. In TT I inter alia, a grave built of blocks and stones and partly dug into rock had already been discovered during the spring study season (which in magnetic picture was interpreted as part of a corner of large building). The decision was taken to cover it with earth and sand after exploration with the aim of protecting it. In TT II, delineated and partly excavated in the spring (and which was extended a little during the summer season), three stages of use were detected. Firstly, this area was used as a quarry, then some occupation activity took place (the excavation exposed walls and cultural layers) which has preliminarily been dated to the first half of the 2nd c. AD. And finally, this area (including TT I) was used as a necropolis, probably in Late Roman and Byzantine times. In TT III, situated close to the western wall and NW gate of the city, the exploration did not reveal the expected remains of a building, but the exploration here has not been finished. The work moved very slowly due to the very compact and extremely hard layer of soil in this place. Extremely interesting results have been obtained in TT IV, where the magnetometer prospection showed a regular circular feature connected most likely with the use of fire. It was confirmed by the discovery of a furnace, probably used to obtain quicklime from blocks, stones and objects made of lime and possibly dated to the Late Roman or Byzantine period. The lime kiln has the shape of an almost perfect circle in the plan, the upper preserved part, had a diameter of 2.60m on the N-S axis and 2.75m on the W-E axis. Next to the kiln, in the western part of the excavation, the NE-SW wall was also revealed . The exploration will be continued in 2018 with the aim of clarifying the chronology of the object, as well as the interpretation of the wall. It should be emphasised here that the results of research from TT.IV almost perfectly coincide with the results of the geophysical prospection, which bodes well for the future regarding the possibility of using of the magnetic method in the registration of objects related to thermal treatment.

As in previous years, the geophysical prospection was continued, but during this year’s campaign not only a magnetometer, but also Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) was used. The chief objective was to detect the economic infrastructure of the city. It was planned that this year, the works would be done in the central and eastern part of the Archaeological site (so called Archaeological Park). In the field, however, the planned working schedule for the magnetic mapping had to be discarded, as the topographical and vegetative conditions on the ground were difficult and due to the present ecological protection status of the archaeological site, no extensive cleaning work could be carried out. Finally, a total of more than 11 hectares was mapped using the magnetometer in various easily accessible parts of the Archaeological site. Work with the GPR focused on the Agora to achieve more detailed data in comparison to the geomagnetic research done here in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, the modern parking lot near the Agora and a small area on the acropolis (Fanari Hill) were also prospected with the GPR. A total area of about 2 hectares have been prospected by GPR during the 2017 campaign.

The preliminary results of the magnetic mapping led to a conglomerate of various remains scattered throughout the park. At first glance, an interpretation seems to be difficult because of the high density of anomalies (mainly modern), but it could be resolved by the overall context. One of the most important results is the detailed recording of the ancient road grid, which also appeared in the results from the year 2016. Now, all data will be processed with the aim of obtaining detailed results and interpretations.

As a preliminary result of GPR, a dense architectural development in the southeast of the Agora was apparent. The northern part of the Portico and its N-E corner could be followed as well. Finally, it is important to draw attention to another wall that follows a north-south axis, approximately in the middle of the square and is interpreted as a possible predecessor to the later Agora. On the whole, the GPR provided far more differentiated results on the Agora than the magnetic prospecting.

The geoarchaeological works have also been continued in Paphos and the wider region. These studies are aimed at reconstructing the geographical environment, which could be the basis for the development of the settlement starting from the Hellenistic period. One of the aims of this research was also the verification of the abovementioned hypothesis of the existence of a second harbour to the N-W of Paphos cape. The research in 2017 made it possible to verify this hypothesis: on the Faros beach, the presence of modern sands up to approx. 1 m was found, followed by the terra rossa layer, which occurred at a depth of 1.2 m. Below this layer, the occurrence of the bedrock was recorded. The results of the research quite unequivocally refute the view of the existence of a harbour in this area, but do not exclude the existence of a haven, which is supported by the morphology of the coast in this section and the "slippery" clay deposits (terra rossa) which would have facilitated the pulling of boats ashore.

In 2017, Paphos performed the privilege role of the European Capital of Culture. In the light of this the scientific teams of the Paphos Agora Project developed a programme to promote and popularise the Jagiellonian University research in Paphos as part of Celebrating Pafos2017 European Capital of Culture. An exhibition of photographs by the photographer of the project, Robert Słaboński (who is the photographer of the expedition together with M. Iwan and A. Oleksiak). The exposition entitled "IN THE HEART OF THE ANCIENT CITY. Research of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow at the Agora and beyond in Paphos Archaeological Park, Cyprus was curated and shown in the Visitor’s Centre near Paphos harbour (and was open till end of February 2018). The exposition was accompanied by a film by Hubert Chudzio and Adrian Szopa, entitled: "Paphos Agora Project". A bilingual Polish-English catalogue catalogue of the exhibition was published, as well as, leaflets. . The official opening of this exhibition was held on the 6th of October 2017 with the participation of the Jagiellonian University delegation, including  the Vice-Rector, Professor Armen Edigarian, the Dean of the Faculty of History, Professor Jan Święch, and the Vice-Dean, Professor Stanisław Sroka. The exposition was opened by the Director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, Dr Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou. Her address was followed by a speech from the  Vice-Rector. He was followed by HE the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Cyprus, Mrs. Barbara Tuge -Erecińska, the representative of the Ministry of Communication and Works, Mrs. Afrodite Kofterou and the project Director, E. Papuci-Władyka. Attending the opening were the Mayor of Pafos, Mr. Fedonas Fedonos, as well as,  members of the Municipal Council and the Municipality and many guests.

On the same day, a  second promotional event was held:   a multimedia open-air performance in the Castle Square of Kato Paphos. The show, entitled: "Mystery of the City of Aphrodite Pafos2017" was prepared and performed by the new media artist, Jani Konstantinovski Puntos, to the music of the well-known Polish artist, Józef Skrzek, with the cooperation of the scientific teams of Paphos Agora Project of whom  the JU is the leader. The performance consisted of a projection on the walls of  the medieval fort (Kastro) in the port of Paphos. It was dedicated to ancient and modern civilisation. It aimed to show how the achievements of new technologies could be harnessed in the service of archaeology and the protection and new interpretation of cultural heritage. The show was opened for the public by the Mayor of Paphos, followed by an address by the Polish Ambassador, the Vice-Rector of the Jagiellonian University and the Director of Paphos Agora Project. The performance was repeated several times the next day.

All the promotional events described above were financed by the Rector of the Jagiellonian University, the Municipal Council of Paphos  and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Cyprus. The Department of Antiquities, the District Archaeological Museum of Paphos, and numerous Pafos2017 European Capital of Culture volunteers  provided support.

In October, a  scientific conference devoted to Paphos  and Western Cyprus also took place, organised by the Department of Antiquities and the University of Avignon within the  framework  of the European Capital of Culture, Pafos2017, during which the members of the Paphos Agora Project presented three lectures and three posters.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka

Season 2016

During 2016, the research of the Department of Classical Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology at the Jagiellonian University (JU)  Kraków, Poland took place within the Paphos Agora Project led by Professor Ewdoksia Papuci-WładykaThis year was the second season supported by a MAESTRO grant (from the National Science Centre, no 2014/14/A/HS3/00283), which expanded the substantive scope of our work: the research in the Agora and beyond aims to attempt to reconstruct the economic infrastructure and economic activity of the city.

In 2016, two kinds of activities were undertaken. First, in spring the study season took place, followed by a long research campaign in late summer-early fall. The study campaign in the term 30.03-25.05.2016 was devoted to the study of the architecture and all movable material uncovered in previous seasons. This material is being developed to be published in the first book of the series Paphos Agora. Altogether, 14 people participated, including the illustrator and photographer. Especially important was the analysis of stratigraphy and pottery which aimed to clarify the development phases of the researched area. Also, the conservation work took place at  the site and covered the preservation of floors, basins, plasters and walls.

The research campaign had an interdisciplinary character: as in previous seasons, it included regular excavations (sixth season) in the main city square, the geophysical research in the area north-west of the Agora and to a  lesser extent in the Agora itself, the geo-archaeological research, as well as the conservation work on the site and treatment of objects stored in the Paphos District Museum. This year, works were conducted between Aug. 21st Aug. and Oct. 12th (two project members came even earlier). The team comprised 77 persons altogether (24 staff, 16 student trainers, 37 volunteers not only from Kraków, but also some from other Polish cities - Warsaw, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Łódź, as well as, from Greece and Cyprus - all participants for a variety of time periods).

This year the decision was taken to excavate five areas inside the Agora itself. In Trench I, the structure S.50 located partly in the main south wall of Building A (S.17) was explored which had been localised and interpreted already in 2015 as a cistern or unfinished well. The well has diameter ca. 0,90m and depth 4.88 meters. Its chronology was very important because it was evidently later than the wall S.17 (and partly carved in one of the ashlars of this wall). The well's filling consisted mainly of pottery fragments dated to the late Hellenistic period (very similar and only a little bit later than the filling of the well S.173 in Trench II). Thus, it confirms that the Building A was in use earlier than the late Hellenistic time. The most surprising finding in the well was a human skeleton found at the depth of ca. 3.5 m. For the moment, it is very difficult to explain this discovery, an  anthropological analysis is needed, which should be done in next study campaign.

In Trench I, an  extension was made to the west in search of the eventual continuation of wall S.17, but the result was negative, instead some slabs were found. The possible continuation of the wall S.17 to the east was also sought, based on observations in the terrain and the results of remote sensing and magnetic prospection done in the previous year. To check this hypothesis, a small trial Trench VI  (2x2m) was marked out ca. 28m east of Trench I and 9m west from the edge of Trench II. The most important result of works on Trench VI was the finding of the remains of a wall of the "compartment type" construction, analogical to the wall S.17 and on its line. It is undoubtedly the continuation of the wall S.17, so at the current stage of research, this wall in the captured line has reached the length of 38.18 meters.

Another new excavation was also found, Trench V, for the purpose of verification of the results of geomagnetic prospection carried out at the Agora in the previous season. Data from this research suggested the existence of two corners corresponding to the layout of the walls uncovered inside the premises of Building A in Trench I, and in addition, the existence of another building located in the north-eastern part of the Agora. The results of work in Trench V have only partly confirmed the data coming  from magnetic prospection: the corners have been found, but both their location and course differed somewhat from the geophysical image. The uncovered remains of building with many rooms should be dated to the Hellenistic period. Its relation to rooms uncovered in Trench I should be studied in future. 

The widest range of works were  undertaken in Trench II, where the exploration continued within the Room 15 (R.15, explored partly in 2013) and south of it in the area with a length of ca. 25m and width approx. 5.5 m along the crepidoma of east portico of the Agora (S.100). A range of newly appointed rooms: R. 16, 17 and 18 was unveiled (towards Trench IV). The most important discoveries came from R. 15 and 16. In the first space on uncovered floor, two intact glass vessels, which had avoided destruction (probably caused by an earthquake) were uncovered, because they were deposited in kind of box, whose iron handle? has also been found. Two intact oil lamps were found in this context, as well as, fragments of pottery. In the immediate vicinity, two hoards of bronze coins were  encountered, probably originally hidden in a purse. The coins, which probably form one hoard divided into two parts, have preliminarily been cleaned and examined. They date to the emperor Traian reign, but some of them have contra-marks of the  first half of the reign of emperor Hadrian. In next Room 16, also at the floor level, small intact glass unguentarium and a  toolkit of six surgical instruments (five bronze and one iron) was discovered together with the remains of a bronze box. The preliminary research showed that they have analogies inter alia with the famous House of the Surgeon in Pompeii and also in the ophthalmologist office in Lyon. The glass vessels could also be involved with this medical activity, so we have probably found a  surgical office functioning in Rooms 15 and 16. The good state of preservation of all these fantastic finds suggests that the collapsed Rooms 15 and 16 were probably never   rebuilt. Preliminary analysis of the diagnostic movable material from the described finds’ contexts gives evidence to determine their chronology to the years of the reign of emperor Hadrian which could coincide with the earthquake mentioned by ancient written sources and dated by  modern scholars to AD 126. So once again, as in previous years, the research of Paphos Agora Project obtained the final date of the functioning of the east portico of the Agora to second century AD and not to the fourth, suggested years ago by the very meritorious Paphos researcher, Cypriot archaeologist Kyriakos Nikolaou.

In Trench IV, research continued within the two rooms uncovered in the previous season, which have been given numbers R.30 (western room) and R.31 (eastern room). In R.31, the exploration has been finished and bedrock has been exposed. The remains of a probable furnace, foundry crucibles and production waste found in a deep pit situated in north-east corner of the room allowed  a hypothesis that in the period preceding the erection of the east portico, there functioned a workshop related to the casting of bronze to be put forward. The economic character of this area is also confirmed by the huge amount of amphorae and utility ceramics found here. Unfortunately, the main part of this production place was presumably situated further to the north where in later times, a solid wall was built closing  Room 31 from the north, so the exploration here and verification of the above hypothesis will presumably be impossible.

Taking into account the results of research in the western part of T.I, as well as T.V and T.VI, it should be noted that the area of Agora was a place of intensive construction activity dating to the time period corresponding with the founding of the city, as well as later. Undoubtedly, the research season in 2016 with the capital findings of R.15 and R.16 confirmed the great research potential of T.II. In Trench II’s portico, during the last phase of use (in second century AD), not only was trade indicated by the small shops (tabernae) but also, medical activity took place. We hope to reconstruct in the future, the function of other rooms. The 2016 results point also to the statement that it is obvious that in an  earlier time, the spatial organization of the portico in Trench II was different.

One of the aims of the 2016 season was to further develop the geophysical research with magnetic method. It was done by specialists from Hamburg University with more improved instruments that were used in the previous season. Three weeks prospection comprised a huge terrain  situated in north-west area from the Agora and close to the north-western city gate. The main aim was to search for  potential remains connected with the harbour presumably existing here in antiquity, as well as other structures of economic character. Preliminary results are very interesting, inter alia a rectangular structure of approximately 25 m in N-S orientation by 15 m in W-E alignment can be clearly observed and is interpreted as a large building. Also, part of the Agora area was prospected with the aim of comparing  the results with the results obtained from the year before. The collected data is  now being processed and the results will be known before the next campaign, helping in the planning of the following research.

The geo-archaeological research was continued by specialists from the Institute of Geography, Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce in the area around Paphos, as well as in the Archaeological Park. Received data will be used for the reconstruction of the sedimentary environment of the surrounding area of  Paphos and phases of alluviation which have determined the changes in the shoreline. One of the main aims is to verify the hypothesis which  assumes  the existence of a second port of Paphos in this area.

Aside from the archaeological exploration, the conservation work of the coins and metal objects was continued by members of our team in the District Archaeological Museum in Paphos, as well as, the development of these materials.

Preservation work was also done in the field. Restoration was carried out in Trench II R.10, where the preserved floor has undergone a maintenance treatment, after which the structure has been protected in accordance with the relevant guidelines of the restorers. During the season, plaster and scarce remains of wall paintings uncovered on the walls indoor R.15 - R.17, were  also  preserved both by a conservation student from Warsaw, as well as local conservation services.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyk

Season 2015

The season 2015 works were conducted between Aug. 19th and Sept. 27th. The team led by Professor Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka comprised more than 70 persons (35 staff, 24 student trainers, including not only Kraków university students, but also some from Warsaw University, 13 volunteers - all participants in various dates).

The excavation work took place in the Agora in all three already existing trenches and in a new one traced at the south-eastern corner of the Agora square just outside of it. In Trench I, the main aim was to look for the continuation of the external walls of Building A and also, of the internal walls of its rooms. The south-west corner of this building was cleared and the continuation of its southern wall to the east was uncovered, but the south-eastern corner was not found: it is probably situated further to the east. This fact shows how large this structure is (the uncovered length of the south wall is now 16m). It should be emphasised that we still do not know what Building A looked like at its beginnings, where the entrance was and what its dimensions were, so further work is needed there. Because of new prospect of our research,  works have been undertaken in Trench II in the east portico, where trade activity of the Agora focused, at least in Roman times. The northern parts of Rooms 10, 11 and 12, party excavated in 2012, have been explored, as well as Room 1. As a result, we can point out a better understanding of the spatial organization of the portico. It seems that it functioned, at least in Roman times, as a place to trade, and it had been isolated from the Agora itself by the wall: it was open to the outside of the Agora, facing the street running from the Agora to the east, at the theatre direction. In Trench III, the eastern part of Room 1 in Building B was uncovered, and in the upper layer of the fill, a very well constructed, marble column capital (broken in two fitting parts) in Corinthian style was found. The above mentioned new Trench IV (25m2) was opened in the only accessible corner of the Agora where research is permitted since in the other corners, modern roads have been built. Works in this place had to attempt to verify the dating of the east portico of the Agora obtained previously in Trench II. However, Trench IV has not been explored this year to any deep extent because of the huge amount of movable material (inter alia deposit of pottery of early Roman times including some amphorae, bronze bowl and fragments of harness) and architectonic structures found there. But it is very promising for future research.

Aside from the archaeological exploration, the conservation work of the coins and metal objects was continued  by members of our team in the District Archaeological Museum in Paphos, as well as, the development of these materials.

One of the aims of the 2015 season was the geophysical research. It was done by specialists from Hamburg University (over a short period of time: 21-24.09) on ten grids of the total area 7275m2, in direct connection with trenches I-IV of the ongoing excavations and in the terrain south of the Agora. The research aim was first to check the capacities of the  Sensys Magneto-Arch"Magnetometer used for the research under local conditions; secondly, to determine structures. As a preliminary result shown by the processed and mapped data, some different (archaeological) structures in both areas were localized, but further processing of the collected data is needed. The prospection will be continued next year over a much greater area.

Three other groups of specialists worked, too. One (JU and freelance geodesist) performed the geodesic measurements in all four trenches and established the geodesic warp for all the Archaeological Park for future non-invasive geophysical research. The second group (AGH University of  Science and Technology in Kraków) was tasked with performing an inventory of newly exposed architectural structures using Faro Focus 3D scanner. The third group (JU and Warsaw University of Technology) had to accomplish two tasks: to prepare the documentation for air photography of the site in order to create orthophotomap and test the usefulness of close range photogrammetry for current registration of the explored archaeological contexts.  The result is an orthophotomap, whose initial version has successfully been developed, as well as, the Digital Terrain Model (DTM ), which provided a lot of new information about the spatial layout of the city; also, the usefulness of close range photogrammetry was proved.

Finally, the geoarchaeological studies have been undertaken by specialists from the Institute of Geography, Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce (17-27.09) in the river valleys of Koskinos and Ezousas. Received data will be used for reconstruction of the sedimentary environment of the surrounding area of  Paphos and phases of alluviation which determined the changes in the shoreline near the Paphos archaeological site.

The project runs under the patronage of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Nicosia and the Ambassador, Barbara Tuge-Erecińska visited the site in 17th of September.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka

Season 2014

In 2014 the fourth season of excavations of the Department of Classical Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University (JU) in Kraków, Poland, took place within the Paphos Agora Project and aimed to explore and study the Agora of ancient city Nea Paphos, the capital of Cyprus in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

The exploration and research, as well as the conservation works of the 2014 season, were conducted between Aug. 8th and Oct. 10th. The team led by Professor Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka comprised nearly 60 persons (20 staff, 15 student trainers, 23 volunteers - all in different terms). The campaign's aim was not only to excavate and provisionally study the uncovered material, but also to make a preservation work performed by members of the Institute's staff and an implementation of  new non-invasive techniques of research (partly tested already in 2013 season) done by specialists from AGH University of Science and Technology  in Krakow (laser scanning of trenches) and J. Kochanowski  University in Kielce (georadar prospection). Thus, the research has an interdisciplinary character.

The field works took place in all three trenches, but in Trench II they were limited to the exploration of the well in room 13, which had already started in the previous season during which it had been interpreted as a cistern, but the exploration in 2014 has clearly shown that it is definitely a well.  This well was excavated to a depth of 7 metres, and at the depth of 5.95m,  the ground water table was reached, affecting the exploration significantly: the use of a pump was necessary and we are deeply indebted to the local fire brigade for their assistance in this matter. The well was filled in with rich movable material and earth. Initially, pottery of different categories: fine wares (e.g. table ware with slip: Colour Coated Ware and Eastern Sigillata A etc.), plain wares, kitchen pottery, transport amphorae, of which some bear stamps were found. We also found terracotta figurines, coins, metal objects etc. In the last category of metal objects, there were three very interesting sling bullets, two of them decorated with relief showing scorpions and the third one with a representation of thunderbolt. On the basis of pottery and amphorae stamps it can be stated that the material of the well constitutes a homogeneous, closed late Hellenistic deposit dated from the late second to the mid-first centuries BC.  From the architectonic point of view, the construction of the well is very closely connected with the first stage of existence of the stylobate of the east portico of the Agora, and so the initial date of this portico should probably  be moved back even earlier than it was postulated last year, i.e. to the Hellenistic times. However, it should be noted that this hypothesis will need to be confirmed after all the material, particularly the coins numbering almost 60, have been studied.

Large scale works have been undertaken in Trench I, situated in the central part of the Agora square. The excavations cleared and enlarged squares traced and partly excavated by K. Nicolaou in the seventies of XX century. These squares were combined with the current excavation's squares excavated within Trench I in 2011. The Cypriot archaeologist had stated that it was likely that an altar had been uncovered. Our research has showed that this was not an altar but part of large, very well constructed building, probably the temple oriented East-West. The mode of walls construction, the so called compartment type,  which is very characteristic for Ptolemaic period, and uncovered material (mainly pottery) point to Hellenistic times. It seems that the building/temple was in use for long period and was rebuilt several times. In close vicinity to this building - to the south - a large pit was discovered filled in with pottery and many terracotta figurine fragments of which the latest can be dated to the late second and early first centuries BC. It seems that in this time the building was rebuilt and the material of no use was thrown into the pit. In general, in Trench I, 26 architectonic structures of which 12 are walls or fragments of walls and the rest were floors etc., and 124 contexts have been explored this year.

The exploration of  Trench III continued on structures discovered in the previous year and aimed to reach the bedrock where possible. In addition, an extension of the trench to the south was traced which aimed to uncover the possible continuation of walls found in 2013 to the south and their stratigraphic relations with the stylobate of the south portico of  the Agora. As a  result of this research,  part of  a large building erected on cut bedrock was uncovered composed of at least two rooms and whose west wall was the extremely well-constructed wall (S 302) found in 2013. This building was built before the construction time of the south portico of the agora, because the south part of the wall S 302 goes underneath the stylobate. The preliminary analysis of the pottery points to the fact that it was erected probably at the late Classical/Early Hellenistic period i.e. in the beginning of the city, and was functioning also after the erection of south portico in the first phase of the agora. The final date of the operation of the building can be determined to possibly at the turn of the second and first centuries BC. Yet, it cannot be securely stated what the function of this building was; however, it seems that the hypothesis of a type of warehouse, advanced last year, can be sustained. In Trench III altogether 12 new structures were found: amongst them five walls, two floors, one channel, levelling screed etc., and 194 contexts have been explored.

Starting from 2013, the project aims also focused on the development of new system of documentation called by this team,  The Archaeological and Archaeometric Information System for Paphos Agora Project (AAIS for PAP). This system will join standard archaeological and architectonic documentation with Digital Elevation Model (DEM), correlated with the documentation database and coupled with orthophotomap running under the Geographical Information System (GIS). For this reason during this excavation campaign,  like the previous one, tachymeter measurements have been taken. After the completion of the exploration (from the end of September until 9th of October) the scanning of the trenches, georadar prospection of whole Agora area and aerial photo taken with drone - hexacopter were performed.

The main result of this year's research has been the discovery in Trench I and III of two large public (?) buildings possibly erected during the Hellenistic period. Thus, we can state that we have most probably found the Hellenistic Agora of the Nea Paphos city.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyk

Season 2013

In 2013 the third season of excavations of the Department of Classical Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University (JU) in Kraków, Poland, took place within the Paphos Agora Project, which aims at the exploration of the Agora of ancient city Nea Paphos, the capital of Cyprus in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

The exploration works of the 2013 season were conducted between Aug. 12th and Sept. 20th. The team led by Professor Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka comprised nearly 40 persons, including the staff of the Institute, doctoral students, graduate and undergraduate students doing their field practice, and volunteers. The campaign's aim was not only to excavate and provisionally elaborate the uncovered material, but also to make a preservation work performed by member of the Institute's staff, associate professor Marcin Biborski. The latter consisted of cleaning and conservation of metal artefacts discovered during the previous seasons, and kept in the Paphos District Museum. Of particular importance was the cleaning of coins, which – together with pottery – are key elements for the chronology of uncovered architecture and other objects. They have been elaborated by associate professor Jarosław Bodzek.

Excavations were conducted in Trench II, which has been researched ever since the first season. This trench is located in the central part of the eastern portico of the Agora, by the entrance to the square from the east. This year it was extended to the south, where new rooms were uncovered; the total number of rooms uncovered reached 15. A majority of them had been most likely shops (tabernae) situated by the eastern entrance of the Roman Agora. In the northern part of  Trench II exploration was completed in rooms 6 and 7, reaching bedrock. Architectural structures (walls, floors, etc.) were uncovered, dating most likely to the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.

Main works were conducted in the southern part within rooms 3 and 5, whose exploration had begun the previous year, and in the newly uncovered rooms 13-15. Architectural remains belonging to several building phases were found: Phase I – Hellenistic period; Phase II – rebuilding in the time of Augustus, probably after the large earthquake in 15 BC, when the first phase of the Roman Agora portico was constructed; Phase III – rebuilding after the earthquake in the 70s AD; Phase IV – rebuilding after the earthquake (in the time of Traian or Hadrian?), when the last phase of the Agora portico was constructed, the one that is most clearly visible now when entering the Agora. The chronology given above is clearly only provisional, and needs to be corroborated by pottery, coins and further exploration.

The exploration results in Room 13 were particularly interesting. Here, the earliest structure uncovered so far is the cistern with rectangular entrance. It appears that the cistern is earlier than the earliest phase of the eastern portico of the Agora, therefore it should be probably dated to the Hellenistic period. Such chronology is suggested by pottery and coins uncovered until now (but the exploration of the cistern is not yet complete). When the foundations of the eastern portico of the Agora had been built, most likely in the time of Augustus, the western wall of the cistern was disassembled; later it was erected anew (in different technique), and it formed part of the portico foundations.

In the 2013 season new trench (Trench III) was opened. It is situated not far from the southern portico of the Agora, and north of it. It aims at checking whether there had been any structures earlier than the Roman Agora here. Ten walls, fragments of two floors and other architectural structures were uncovered. The analysis of pottery found in the lowest layers by the walls indicates that some of these structures had functioned in the Hellenistic period, and were covered by thick layer of Roman levelling. As for now we are unable to assess whether the structures in question had been connected with the Hellenistic Agora that we are looking for. In order to answer this question, exploration of Trench III ought to be continued in the following season.

Not only archaeologists and professionals mentioned before took part in this year's fieldwork, but we were joined also by two geodesists. They took measurements and processed the data, performed photogrammetry and helped in the creation of the digital elevation model of the site (DEM). After the termination of the fieldwork, photos were taken from above by the so-called quadrocopter, equipped with digital camera. Preliminary results of this procedure are very promising.

Data gathered during the three years of exploration will be analysed and elaborated in Krakow, and they will serve for the compilation of the first preliminary report from our works, which will be sent for publication in the Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka

Season 2012

The season 2012 started on August 17th and ended on September 28th. The aim of the work in first week was mainly to finish documentation of monuments discovered in the previous season. After that we started the works in the field, that lasted four weeks. The last week was devoted to document and preserve everything we discovered during the current season.

Excavations was continued in Trench I and Trench II. The main aim of works in Trench I was to explain the function of the structures discovered in the previous season. The structure previously called as cistern should be classified as well. It has about 4,5 meters and has big stones, that blocked the upper part of its. The space under that stones was filled by unified ground, that was closed context. Ceramic discoverd in it could be dated on early Roman period, before the middle of the second century AD.

Trench II was extended to the north, east and south. Excavated area was used during the long time. The earliest structure in the south part was a channel running from the north to the south, discovered in the Room 5 and made of stone slabs. Propably it could be dated on the Hellenistic period. In later time it was destroyed by the construction of the wall discovered in the season 2011. That wall probably had belonged to different stylobate or different channel, that ran from the west to the east. The remains from the similar time were found in the Room 10, where exploration ended on the bedrock. The lowest layer contained the pure Hellenistic material (mainly ceramics) and the remains of the structures used in the Hellenistic period.

Number of rooms from the Roman period founded on the east from the portico changed from five to twelve. Most of them were used as a shops (tabernae) in the early Roman period and later propably were destroyed by the earthquake. Under the collapsed wall we founded bronze jug and on the floor crushed ceramic pots. We also found there mortarium in good condition. It has two manufacturer stamps and graffito of the owner name. The great channel running from the east to the west, discovered under the different rooms from that period, could be built in the same time as the foundation of the east stylobate.


Similar as in the last year we found many finds. We got ceramics in many categories: Table Ware, Plain Ware, kitchen pottery, Coarse Wares and Transport Amphorae. Finds could be dated from the Hellenistic period, during the early and late Roman period, to Byzantine time. To the most spectacular finds we could include the gold earring (or pendant) ended with the blade in the shape of ivy leaf, bronze vessels, bronze ring, many coins and nails. Also noteworthy is the lead weight with Greek inscription mentioning the  official controlling the Agora - agoranomos, named Seleukos, son of  Ioulios Bathylos.


Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka

Season 2011

A preliminary geophysical research was carried out and was followed by traditional excavations. Two trenches were opened, one in the central part of the Roman Agora and one in the central part of the east portico. Architectural remains (walls, floors, a drainpipe system and two cisterns) were uncovered, most probably belonging to three chronological phases: Hellenistic, Early Roman and Late Roman. 

The movable material uncovered during the excavations consists primarily of pottery dating to the Roman period, but there are fragments dating to the Byzantine and Hellenistic periods as well. Some of the most important finds include bronze objects (such as a jug with decorated handle attachments, scales and an acorn-shaped weight, pins and nails, coins), iron and lead objects (nails, weights), including an iron Roman sword (preserved in several matching fragments) and a lead vessel of cylindrical shape with long iron handle. A very well preserved Egyptialyzing amulet with engravings on one side and a magic inscription in Greek alphabet on the other side is another find of particular interest. Also terracotta lamps and a helmeted figurine head of Athena are noteworthy, as well as many fragmented glass vessels. 


Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka



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