The Department of Antiquities was established in 1935 as a result of the enactment of the Antiquities Law. Until then the Antiquities Law of 1905 was in use. The latter was the first Antiquities Law under British rule and it replaced the respective Ottoman Law of 1874.
The first Cyprus Museum was founded in 1882. A year later it was housed in two rooms of the Government Offices. In reality the situation was far from what we imagine when we hear the word “Museum”. In 1889 a house on 7 Victoria str. in the old city was rented and the collections were transferred there. It was only in 1908 when the Cyprus Museum was housed in a building designed for this purpose, and it is still housed there today.
With the enactment of the Antiquities Law of 1935 and the founding of the Department of Antiquities, the Cyprus Museum officially became a government organisation and it enjoys an annual state contribution. Since 1935 the Department of Antiquities directs and controls all the archaeological activities in Cyprus.
The Department of Antiquities has under its jurisdiction the management of the archaeological heritage of Cyprus. Its main responsibilities include the conducting of excavations and archaeological surveys, the operation, organization and foundation of archaeological museums, as well as the conservation, rehabilitation, protection and promotion of the ancient monuments, archaeological sites and monuments of traditional architecture.
The aims of the Department of Antiquities also include the use of ancient monuments and archaeological museums for educational and cultural purposes and for the development of cultural tourism. Conferences, lectures and exhibitions, both in Cyprus and abroad, are organized towards these goals. The activities of the Department of Antiquities are published in its two annual editions: the Report of the Department of Antiquities Cyprus and the Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities Cyprus.