Department of Antiquities


Amathus (Harbour): French School at Athens


(Dir.: Dr. Ludovic Thély)

The Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Communications and Works, announces the completion of the 2014 archaeological investigations at the area of the inner harbour of the ancient city of Amathus (Ayios Tychonas), by the French School at Athens, under the direction of Dr. Ludovic Thély.
Since 1975, when the French School at Athens began excavations at the ancient city of Amathus, archaeologists interpreted the big flat zone (a kind of depression flowing into the sea) as the location of an internal harbour, perhaps connected to the military port built in the Hellenistic period. In 2014 a geomorphological study and two archaeological soundings were conducted in this area, located about 80 meters to the south-west of the Amathus Agora. As a result of the investigations, it is now certain that this cove was once linked to the sea, before being separated from its natural environment with the creation of a coastal dam, which resulted in the formation of a lagoon. At a later time, the gradual accumulation of colluvial deposits of rock and debris from silted-up land, filled up the cove with limestone and clay. These natural materials were used at Amathus during Roman times for the construction of buildings.

In 2014 two test trenches were opened: the first one, in the south, seems to confirm the limits between the constructed area of the city and the cove’s colluvial deposits. No built features were identified in this area and the homogeneous stratigraphy suggests a uniform landfill. The second test trench revealed two imposing structures, (approximate width: 1,80 m.) running parallel to each other. The structures seem to run on an east-west axis but their western limits have not yet been revealed. The team was able to identify two or three phases. A circulation floor was found, on which fifteen, almost complete, amphorae were found, suggesting an occupation of this area in the late Roman period (3rd-4th centuries AD).

It is expected that the 2015 investigations will shed more light on the use of this massive structure, which seems to have been part of an important loading and unloading site and storage area for products arriving from the sea. Despite the abandonment of its large military harbour in the middle of the Hellenistic period, Amathus seems to have maintained its trading activity, remaining in the same league as Cyprus’ other large cities in the Roman Period.

Amathus harbour excavations 2014

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