Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Palaipaphos (Kouklia)

Ryan and I have decided that every Saturday we are going to try to get out to see one of the many archaeological and/or historical sites on the island. Cyprus truly has an amazing history and prehistory. It’s location has made it a transition point for many different cultures and groups. While my work is on the earliest group(s), most people are more interested in the later Roman, Greek and Medieval periods. Many sites around the island have been occupied for thousands of years by multiple groups.

Our first stop was one such location: Palaipaphos in the modern town of Kouklia. We picked it mainly because it was the closest to where we are at (we were still a little daunted from the previous weekends travels), and I had been there before and knew it was awesome. In fact, the last time I was here I stayed in the Medieval home for a few nights while assisting with lithic analysis. That may all sound glamorous, but I assure you it was not. First of all, by ‘assisting’ I mean writing numbers that were called out for over 5k chipped stone flakes. I rarely even looked at them myself. Secondly, the medieval accommodations were definitely not a five star hotel. I was there with a fellow grad student (from UNLV), and at night we would just keep the lights off and cover as much of us as we could with our sheets… it was better we didn’t see what kind of bugs were crawling around our room and/or on us. (Yes, Katie, I know you miss it too…)

But I digress… the site was a good warm up. Its linked to "an ancient cult that worshipped the Great Goddess" since the Neolithic. In the early 12th century the Myceneans settled the island and erected an alter to honor the local goddess of fertility. It continued to be a central and important location through out the classical period and into the Roman period. During the Roman period it was the center for religious/cult control and the central location for all bronze coinage. All religious activities halted around the 4th century A.D. when christianity spread through the island, however the alter to Aphrodite is still located here and every year during the solstice a large ritual where people from all over the world come to participate. This sanctuary of Aphrodite is the very one mentioned by Homer! 

The medieval house was built in the 12th century A.D. and was a central location for dealing with sugar plantations that were taking hold.

Back to our trip... Despite the heat and mama forgetting to pack snacks (mom fail), we only had one toddler meltdown. Miles wanted to climb up the rocks but I’m pretty sure we would get kicked out as it was part of the excavation site. He loved it all though… here is my little archaeologist.

Just last night he told us again how much he liked the ‘museum’. Good, we have plenty more where that came from!

Miles' version of "but it fits so nicely in my hand!"
Other random thoughts/experiences from the day:

1.     Chocolate milk is a bad idea in this heat.
2.     Overheard two British kids singing “Twinkle Twinkle” but instead it went something like: Twinkle twinkle, chocolate bar, by dad drives a fucking car”… after listening to them repeat it a few times I determined they were, in fact, saying “rusty” car. I think. I’m still not convinced. Weird none the less.
3.     The best way to start the day is a swim in the Sea. Before it gets too hot and before the crazy topless overweight lobsters show up… er, I mean tourists. 


  1. Hahahaha! The lobsters! I have fond memories too Kayla. Make sure you partake of some of the beers and Zivinaea during this adventure!

    Katie :)

  2. This is so fascinating. I love it that the kids are exposed to this kind of adventure. It might make preschool less than exciting. :)