Dir: Dr. David Mindorashvili)
The Ministry of Communications and Works (Department of Antiquities) announces the completion of the excavation of the church of Agios Nikolaos in the site of the 10th century Georgian Monastery, at Gialia village in the Pafos District. The excavations, conducted under the direction of Dr. David Mindorashvili, began on the 12th of September and ended on the 8th of October, and were funded by the Georgian National Office for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. The church was studied from an artistic point of view by George Gagoshidze and the architectural plans were conducted by Tengiz Gabunia.
Investigations at this site focused on documenting the foundations of the church of Agios Nikolaos, which once belonged to the Monastery. The site was excavated and the phases of the church’s construction needed to be properly defined. The church (11 X 4 m.) was once a two-storey building. The ground floor functioned as a crypt which was roofed with an arch and divided by walls in the areas where burials were made. Four such ‘ossuaries’ have been found so far and inside them the bones of the dead were found spread about irregularly along with a large number of clay vessels. The moveable finds, which mainly consist of bowls, date to various periods between the 12th and 15th centuries A.D. During previous seasons of investigation of the Monastery’s main church, archaeologists could not locate the monks’ cemetery, which was an integral part of the monastic complex. As this year’s investigations have shown, the Monastery’s monks were buried in the ground floor, in the crypt of the church of Agios Nikolaos.
Due to the areas’ great extent, excavation will continue in 2010. With the completion of the archaeological investigations the monuments will be conserved and safeguarded. A thorough investigation of the church and the moveable finds will highlight the close links between Cyprus and Georgia, concerning both the religious sphere and the cultural-educational one.