(Dir.: Prof. Peter M. Fischer)
Excavations by the New Swedish Expedition at Hala Sultan Tekke, 2013
The Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Communications and Works, announces the completion of the 2012 field season at the Late Bronze Age harbour city of Hala Sultan Tekke, near Larnaka International Airport. The excavations, which took place during April and May were conducted under the direction of Prof. Peter M. Fischer of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The 2012 excavations exposed a large building from the 14th – 12th centuries BC. The building which is more than 30 m by 20 m in size contains living and working spaces. Twenty rooms have been exposed so far. The size of this city is estimated to be more than 25 hectares and only a small portion of the city has so far been excavated. At the beginning of the 12th century BC this Late Cypriote city was destroyed and abandoned, and never reoccupied. The discovery of this building was made possible through the use of a sophisticated ground penetrating radar device. The radar images were amazingly detailed and showed features such as single rooms and their entrances. There is evidence that metal objects were produced in some of the rooms. The expedition found numerous bronze tools, weapons and jewellery.
The expedition found evidence of a catastrophic event which possibly was caused by a tsunami. There is a 2 m wide massive wall running roughly parallel with the sea. This wall is part of the compound which is under excavation. It was built on a hillock, approximately 10.5 m above today’s sea level overlooking the ancient harbour, which corresponds to the Salt Lake west of the airport. There are indications that this massive wall was constructed in order to stop a tsunami wave. The possible tsunami should have hit the southern coast of Cyprus in the Larnaka area between 1450 and 1350 BC. The thriving city of Hala Sultan ceased to exist shortly after 1200 BC.