Department of Antiquities


Museums
Archaeological Museum of the Pafos District

Archaeological Museum of the Pafos District

In 1964, shortly after the Independence of Cyprus, the Archaeological Museum of the Pafos District opened to the public, originally with two rooms. It was gradually extended in 1965, 1977 and 1987. The museum was entirely reorganized based on a new museological approach with co-funding from the European Regional Development Fund in the framework of the Operational Programme “Competitiveness and Sustainable Development” for the Programming Period 2014–2020.

The Exhibition contains objects from excavations in the District of Pafos, which are representative of the development of civilization from the Epipalaeolithic period to the Roman period, that is from the prehistoric settlements to Nea Pafos becoming the metropolis of Cyprus.

The visitor’s route follows a chronological development; each period is marked by a different colour, whereas thematic entities highlight the characteristics of each period.

The first objects on display date from the Epipalaeolithic (10500–9000 BC) and Neolithic (9000–3900 BC) periods. Recent excavations have brought to light evidence for some of the earliest settlements in Cyprus, such as, for example, the mountainous settlement of hunter-gatherers at Agios Ioannis-Roudias (11th–10th millenium BC) and the wells at the settlement of Kisonerga-Myloudia (9th millenium BC), which are considered to be amongst the earliest in the world.

The next phase in the archaeology of Cyprus, the Chalcolithic period (3900–2500 BC), is crucial for the evolution of civilization in the area of Pafos and in Cyprus. Excavations of settlements and cemeteries have brought to light new evidence for the period with important finds from sites such as Lempa-Lakkoi, Kisonerga-Mosfilia, Souskiou-Laona and Souskiou-Vathyrkakas, amongst others. Most notable are the earliest copper-based objects ever excavated in Cyprus and the characteristic picrolite cruciform figurines, as well as the unique discovery of a workshop for their manufacture in Souskiou-Laona. The reconstruction of the so-called House of Pithos at the settlement of Kisonerga-Mosfilia, dating to the end of the Chalcolithic period (end of 3rd millenium BC), enriches our knowledge on the communities of the period providing evidence for social differentiation, economic organisation and increasing overseas contacts.


Archaeological Museum of the Pafos District

The Early and Middle Bronze Age (2500–1650 BC) is represented by finds from the settlements at Kisonerga-Skalia and by pottery from the cemeteries at Kisonerga-Ammoudia and Kisonerga-Choiromantres. This period is characterized by an intensified exploitation of copper, agriculture and other crafts related to daily life, such as spinning and weaving.

In the Late Bronze Age (1650–1050 BC), a settlement is established at Palaipafos, located in the modern village of Kouklia, which represents an important urban centre mentioned in ancient texts. Palaipafos controlled the production and trade of copper in the area and was the location of the most important sanctuary of Aphrodite in the island.

The foundation of a new fortified settlement at the end of the 13th century BC at Maa-Paliokastro probably aimed at the exploitation and trading of copper during the “period of crisis” in the Eastern Mediterranean and may have also marked the borders of Palaipafos. The settlement of Palaipafos continued to develop into one of the most important economic and cultural centres of the island. Aegean influences are apparent particularly in the burial customs of the Cypro-Geometric period, which bear similarities to Homer’s descriptions. Two such burials of the Cypro-Geometric and Cypro-Archaic periods (11th–8th century BC) have been reconstructed, presenting the luxury and prestige objects which reflect the power and contacts of the elite at the time.

The most important characteristic of the Iron Age (1050–310 BC) was the establishment of the city-kingdoms. These are known from excavations, inscriptions and coins (which began to be issued at the end of the 6th c. BC), as well as ancient texts. The Cypro-Geometric (1050–750 BC), Cypro-Archaic (750–480 BC) and Cypro-Classical (480–312 BC) periods, when Palaipafos was the seat of its kingdom, are represented by typical examples of pottery and a series of male statues, luxury dedications to the sanctuary of Palaipafos. Apart from the prestigious sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaipafos, there were many more rural sanctuaries within the area of the city-kingdom, which yielded a profusion of mostly clay votive figurines. The script used for dedicatory inscriptions is the Cypro-syllabic, which originated in the Cypriot script known as the Cypro-Minoan. This script was used at this time to write the Greek language and remained in use until the Hellenistic period, when it was gradually substituted by the alphabetic script.

At the beginning of the Hellenistic period, the city of Nea Pafos was founded (4th century BC), which became the new financial and administrative centre of the island and functioned as one of the largest ports of the Eastern Mediterranean. The profusion of amphorae found are an indication of the extent of the commercial exchanges of the city with the whole of the Mediterranean region. The Pafos mint issued coinage in various metals and denominations with the names of kings, which are often not mentioned in the ancient sources.

The concentration of wealth amongst the elite and the merchants of the city is evident in the works of art that decorated their luxurious houses. Marble statues of Aphrodite and a series of mythological figures were found in both public and private buildings. Small luxury objects, such as fine ceramics, glass vessels of different categories, jewellery, small objects in precious metals, ivory and other exotic materials provide evidence for a flourishing and cultured society. In addition, a large number of figurines were found, some decorative in domestic contexts and others votive in domestic or public sanctuaries. Works of art made of metal have been preserved from both the Hellenistic and Roman periods; lead sling bullets and an iron sword may have been used by the guards in the Agora, while lead weights and a scale were used for exchanges in the market.

The burial customs of the Hellenistic and Roman periods are very similar to those of the rest of the Greek world and include luxurious sarcophagi, stelae of Greek type and funerary statues. A considerable wealth of decorative art was preserved decorating the interior of luxury tombs of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, a characteristic of the city of Pafos.

A series of wall-paintings representing the Muses possibly surrounding the god Apollo from the House of Aion (4th century AD), located at the archaeological site of Nea Pafos, are intended to give an idea of the luxurious decoration of the interior of the Roman villas, while the reconstruction of a kitchen in a Hellenistic/Roman house with cooking pots and utensils gives an idea of the daily life in domestic contexts.

The metal medical instruments found in tombs of doctors or surgeons and the ceramic hot water bottles in the shape of parts of the human body, used for therapeutic purposes, indicate that Pafos was an important medical centre during the Roman period.

The last exhibit the visitor sees when exiting the Museum is the largest inscription ever found in Pafos: an honourary inscription dedicated to the emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius (2nd c. AD), for the construction of the city’s theatre.


Archaeological Museum of the Pafos District


District/Address Pafos/ Griva Diyeni (Ktima)
Telephone26955801
26955802
Opening hours

for Public Holiday opening hours see home page
Monday: closed
Tuesday - Sunday :10:00 - 17:30
Tickets FREE ENTRY
Accessibility

Entrance: Ramps
Wheelchair accessible WC
Parking space (marked)

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