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14 June, 2024
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Ancient mysteries unearthed on Cyprus' northern coastline

Exploring layers of nature, geological marvels and historical enigmas in Davlos

Newsroom / CNA

In the vicinity of the occupied village of Davlos, specifically at the location of Vikli (Galounia), an astonishing geological formation has captivated attention. This formation comprises a sequence of alternating layers of clay, marl, sandstone, limestone, and other rocks.

Historically, this area has been linked, albeit unverified archaeologically, to the renowned "Achaean Coast," mentioned by the ancient geographer Strabo. Maria Makri, an Archaeological Official at the Department of Antiquities, clarifies that while the ancient association remains undocumented, an ancient settlement was indeed discovered in the vicinity. In recognition of its historical significance, the Department of Antiquities designated the site and the remnants of the ancient city as an Ancient Monument in 1971. The Achaeans established their presence in Cyprus between 1210 and 1000 BC.

Discovery of this area was initiated by Cyprus News Agency's photojournalist Katia Christodoulou during her visit last April. Intrigued by the unique rock formations depicted in her photographs and video footage, questions arose concerning the area's potential connection to the "Achaean Coast."

Subsequently, Maria Makri, who was familiar with the area, was consulted. She explained that along the northern coast of Cyprus, stretching from Kormakitis to Apostolos Andreas, lies the widely prevalent geological formation known as the Flyschis of Kythrea, constituting the most extensive geological feature of the Pentadaktylos geotectonic zone.

This lithological formation is characterized by alternating layers of clay, marl, sandstone, limestone, and other rocks. It is believed to have formed primarily from sediment deposits transported by strong marine currents during the Middle Miocene, originating from Southern Asia Minor, complemented by erosion materials from the Pentadaktylos mountain range.

Over countless years, these layers of clay, marl, and limestone have eroded under the influence of seawater, while the sandstone layers have proved resistant to erosion. This unique natural process has given rise to a distinctive landscape in the Davlos area, creating an appearance reminiscent of man-made structures, such as a shipyard. In reality, however, it is an exclusive geological phenomenon, as emphasized by Makri.

Moreover, historical research in the 1970s revealed the presence of an ancient settlement in the vicinity. This archaeological investigation, conducted by the Department of Antiquities under the former Director, Dr. S. Hadjisavva, identified a significant settlement dating back to the Hellenistic (312-58 BC), Roman (58 BC-395 AD), and Early Christian periods (395-mid 7th AD).

Situated approximately 5 km Northeast of Davlos and 5.5 km northwest of Komi, the remains of this settlement encompass an area of 300X200 meters on rocky terrain, positioned along the borders of the two villages. Notably, the site features a small bay to the west, likely serving as an ancient port. Abundant pottery and building materials discovered throughout the area attest to its extensive use and historical importance.

Due to its historical significance, the Department of Antiquities declared the site and the remnants of the ancient city, situated within the private property in the Galounia area, as an Ancient Monument (Table B) in 1971.

While older researchers have associated this location with the famed "Achaean Coast" of the Late Bronze Age (around 1,200 BC), where Achaean settlers purportedly arrived following the destruction of the Mycenaean Palaces, no archaeological evidence corroborates this claim. Unlike other areas in Cyprus, where archaeological findings from the Late Bronze Age include cyclopean walls, architectural elements reminiscent of the Aegean, Mycenaean pottery, and more, no such artifacts have been unearthed in this region.

For instance, the site Maa-Paleokastro, located approximately 13 km northwest of Paphos, is a typical example where excavations have revealed a fortified settlement from the Late Bronze Age, characterized by its location on a small peninsula connected to the permanent Achaean settlement in Cyprus. This discovery serves as a testament to the presence of Mycenaean settlers in other areas of Cyprus during that era.

Cyprus  |  archaeology  |  dig

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