Localisation

In 2011, the Department of Classical Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology at the Jagiellonian University started a new archaeological project in the ancient city of Paphos in Cyprus. The expedition team is headed by prof. dr hab. Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka. The work under the Paphos Agora Project is carried out on the basis of a license granted by the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus.

The ancient city of Nea Paphos (as opposed to the old Paphos - PalaiaPaphos, a famous place of the cult of goddess Aphrodite) is one of the most important archaeological sites in Cyprus. Its monuments have been entered into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. The city was founded in the western part of the island in the late fourth or early third century BC. During the Hellenistic period it belonged to the the Ptolemaic Kingdom and later, after 58 BC, remained under the Roman tutelage. For centuries (from approx. 200 BC to approx. AD 350) it was the capital of the island. Apart from the Cypriot excavations (e.g. the House of Dionysos, the House of Orpheus, the basilica), research has been conducted here by a number of international archaeological missions, including one from the Warsaw University in Poland (Maloutena residential district with the Villa of Theseus), and others from Italy ('Garrison's Camp'), Australia (the theatre) and France (on the Fabrica hill).

Research on Agora - Phase I

Before the Krakow expedition started its excavations, in the years 1975-1978 a Cypriot researcher Kyriakos Nikolaou discovered and partly explored an agora of a Roman city in Paphos. It was located in front of the Odeon and formed a nearly square-shaped yard probably surrounded by a colonnade (peristyle) with almost 100 m side length. According to Nikolaou, the Roman agora functioned from the second to the fourth century AD.

Urban traditions were very strong in antiquity. In Roman times, in the cities which had been established earlier, the existing basic elements of topography (grid of streets, insulae) were often used, so there is no reason to suppose that Paphos was an exception. The same could have applied to the agora, and on the basis of the existing epigraphic sources and archaeological discoveries, one could also expect that the market of the Hellenistic city was located under the Roman agora. When the Jagiellonian University expedition started the research in 2011, the main objective was therefore to determine whether the agora of the Hellenistic city was actually located under the Roman market.

Phase I of our research, funded from the OPUS grant of the National Science Centre, statutory funds of the Jagiellonian University Faculty of History and sponsorship, covered the years 2011-2014. After four campaigns and study work, we can conclude that we have discovered a Hellenistic Agora which functioned in the same location as the Roman one.

Research on Agora - Phase II

In 2015, with a new NSC MAESTRO grant the substantive scope of our research has been expanded. The work on the Agora itself will be continued, where 95% of the area remains to be examined, with the aim to try to reconstruct the functioning of this public space, its appearance, lifetime, etc. However, in the second stage of our project, the research will go beyond the Agora. The scope is to apply non-invasive (geophysical) methods in order to look for the economic infrastructure of the ancient Paphos and attempt to reconstruct the economic activity of the city. The research will also focus on the economic importance of the city and its trade relations on the island and beyond - in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.

Text: E. Papuci-Władyka