Unique archaeological project reveals historic earthquake in Cyprus

A University of Leicester archaeology project has uncovered new information about an ancient, erosion-threatened port in Cyprus.

An excavation conducted in Dreamer’s Bay, within RAF Akrotiri airbase, by professional and student archaeologists from the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History has uncovered valuable new information about remains in the ancient port.

The third season of work, conducted with the agreement of the UK Sovereign Base Areas Administration and the Republic of Cyprus Department of Antiquities, has produced valuable new information about the shoreline port buildings of the Roman and early Byzantine periods (approximately AD300-600).

The research indicates that these buildings, thought to be warehouses and workshops, were struck by an earthquake, the same one which, around AD360, devastated the ancient city of Kourion 13km north of Dreamer’s Bay.

One of the buildings excavated by the University team contained a number of amphorae (wine or oil jars) and smaller pots. It is believed that they were smashed when the walls fell on them. Despite this, some vessels remained intact and were lifted in one piece.

As well as providing a wealth of new information about the history and heritage of Cyprus, the archaeologists hosted an Open Day for the UK base community during the Easter holidays which was attended by 150 people, including an RAF Wing Commander.