Listen here to the podcast of the lecture Dr Craig Barker gave for the Nicholson Museum on 31 January 2018 titled Art and Performance: Two decades of archaeology at the ancient theatre of Paphos, Cyprus.
On the 30 January 2018, project director Dr Craig Barker will present a free public lecture at the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney about the excavations.
Art and Performance: Two decades of archaeology at the ancient theatre of Paphos, Cyprus
Join us at the Nicholson Museum for a free public lecture by Dr Craig Barker.
The University of Sydney’s Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project has been excavating, analysing and interpreting the remains of the World Heritage listed ancient theatre of Paphos since 1995. Working with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, over 500 Australian archaeologists, students and contributing volunteers to date have helped reveal a structure that was used as a venue for performance and spectacle for over 650 years from its construction around 300 BC through to its destruction by earthquake around 365 AD. Despite the subsequent stripping of stone from the building, clear archaeological and architectural evidence indicates that the theatre could hold up to 8500 spectators.
The project has also been investigating the surrounding theatrical precinct, including a Roman fountain house and a colonnaded street. These important excavations are slowly revealing clues about the urban layout of the capital city of ancient Cyprus. In this presentation, project director Dr Craig Barker will discuss what is known about the site, the project’s adoption of new technologies and work with visual contemporary artists. The creative spirit of the ancient actors lives on.
Dr Craig Barker is Manager of Education and Public Programs at Sydney University Museums. He has extensive experience in K-12 and adult museum education, and has published and presented on museum education in teacher and academic conferences and publications. Craig has a PhD in Classical Archaeology from the University of Sydney and has undertaken archaeological fieldwork in Australia, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.
Tuesday 30 January, 6pm, Nicholson Museum
RSVP Please let us know if you can attend by registering online.
Image Credit: Aerial photograph of the Paphos Theatre site, 2017.
University of Sydney Media Release 14 December 2017
Virtual reality rebuilds ancient Cypriot capital
Restoring Nea Paphos' Theatre without a single brick
Virtual reality technology has paired up with 20 years of excavation by University of Sydney archaeologists to recreate the centrepiece of Cyprus’ ancient capital.
The University has partnered with digital technology firm Lithodomos VR (LVR) to create a virtual reality mobile application depicting the Nea Paphos Theatre during its heyday in 150 AD, around the time of the Antonine emperors. University archaeologists and Melbourne-based LVR designers have worked together to build an app that shows off a 360-degree view of the building’s grand Roman façade, marble columns, imperial statues and painted entranceways.
For the last 20 years Dr Craig Barker has led the University’s efforts to uncover Nea Paphos, the capital of Cyprus during the Roman and Hellenistic periods (c. 300 BC-400 AD) until it was destroyed by earthquake in 365 AD. He and an army of colleagues, University students and volunteers have uncovered paved Roman roads, an ancient nymphaeum (water fountain) and the semi-circular theatre.
Only the foundations of the Paphos Theatre, used for performance and spectacle for more than 600 years, remain today. The Paphos Theatre in VR app, available on Google Play and iTunes, will enable users to immerse themselves in the site’s Roman splendour. Under the Romans, the theatre was 100 metres in diameter, held 8,500 people and was replete with architecture imported from the Mediterranean.
“Past physical restorations of archaeological sites have been based on knowledge of the day,” says Dr Barker. “The beauty of digital restoration is that it can be changed as new evidence comes to light.”
Dr Barker has used the app at the heritage listed site when giving Cypriot school children tours of the archaeological site as well as with school groups visiting the University’s Nicholson Museum.
“We have brought history to life and used modern technology to examine a 2,000 year old building.”
LVR Chief Executive Simon Young said recreating Paphos Theatre was particularly rewarding for LVR. “The University was among the earliest supporters of our fledgling company,” he said. “The project shows the best results are achieved with close consultation, communication and feedback from archaeologists who are experts in the subject.”
We have successfully completed our 2017 field season. Read a summary of our work this year here.
Team members Diana Wood Conroy and Craig Barker authored a a paper in The Conversation recently exploring the history of the Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project's work with visual artists.
'Old sites, new vision: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus' can be read here.
Rowan Conroy, Paphos Theatre Full Moon, April 2006.
In 2017 the Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project is proud to announce its 3D virtual reality model of the Antonine (2nd century AD) phase of the theatre of Paphos made by our good friends at LithodomosVR.
The model allows the viewer to explore a hypothetic reconstruction of the ancient theatre from three different view points. The immersive experience is a wonderful means to allow people to experience what the theatre would have been like during its period of greatest expansion, and a great example of our commitment of public engagement with the archaeological process.
Conference delegates being taken on a site tour on the 15 October.
The artist-in-residence program of the Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project excavations has always invited visual artists to be inspired by the archaeology of the ancient theatre site.
This theme of using visual arts to present a new perspective on archaeological processes and the concept of excavation and study of materials is at the basis of the exhibition Travellers from Australia: artists in the ancient Pafos theatre which is part of the Pafos2017 European Capital of Culture festival program.
Curated by Emeritus Professor Diana Wood Conroy and Dr Craig Barker, the exhibition features work Angela Brennan, Brogan Bunt, Rowan Conroy, Amanda Dusting, Hannah Gee, Penny Harris, Guy Hazell, Stephen Ingham, Derek Kreckler, Bob Miller, Jacky Redgate, Geoff Stennett, Lawrence Wallen, Diana Wood Conroy and LithodomosVR, all inspired by the excavation of the ancient theatre at Paphos.
The exhibition runs at the Palia Ilektriki in Ktima Pafos between 2-15 October 2017.
The Archaeology of Cyprus, a guided tour with Helen Nicholson
24 September - 9 October 2017
This sixteen day tour explores the rich cultural heritage of Cyprus that spaces from Neolithic settlements to UNESCO World Heritage listed churches in the Troodos Mountains, and from ancient Phoenician, Greek and Roman sites to more recent medieval and Ottoman monuments and museums.
Late summer is a good time to visit Cyprus and the tour has been designed to introduce and explore this fascinating past as well as providing opportunities to discover the vibrant contemporary society that awaits travellers to the island today.
Please contact Alumni Travel on 1300 799 887 or (02) 9290 3856 to book a place on this tour.
Download the detailed itinerary and booking details here.