Archaeologists working on Paphos Agora Project have uncovered a cistern that predates the eastern portico of the Agora as well as 15 new rooms, most of them shops, the Department of Antiquities said on Wednesday.
The excavations conducted by the Department of Classical Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University (JU) in Krakσw aimed at the exploration of the Agora of ancient city Nea Paphos, the capital of Cyprus in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
The team was led by Professor Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka and comprised nearly 40 persons, including the staff of the Institute, doctoral students, graduate and undergraduate students and volunteers.
The earliest structure uncovered so far was 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," said the Antiquities Department.
In the 2013 season a new trench (Trench III) was opened, 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.
The campaign's aim was not only to excavate and provisionally elaborate the uncovered material, but also to clean and conserve 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.
Excavations were conducted in Trench II, located in the central part of the eastern portico of the Agora, where 15 new rooms were uncovered.
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 six and seven, 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 three and five, 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 Hadrian, when the last phase of the Agora portico was constructed, the one that is most clearly visible now when entering the Agora.
Joining the team were 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, the announcement said.