The view from the top of the Cavea (theatre seating) is one of the best in Nea Paphos, and the sunsets from this area are nothing short of spectacular. Those of us lucky enough (or unlucky depending on how much you like climbing stairs) to be working in the trenches at the top of the Cavea get to dig to this backdrop (when we aren’t heads down, bottoms up toiling away in the soil).
Although the people working in the trenches at the bottom of the Cavea don’t get the sweeping harbour views (and being from Sydney we know how sought after harbour views are) they do get the pleasure of looking at the theatre complex which has been gradually uncovered by the University of Sydney over the past 21 years.
The scenery of the Paphos Theatre site could almost make anyone forget the sweltering heat, the aching muscles, and sore knees which are part and parcel of being a field archaeologist. The wonders of the UNESCO world heritage listed archaeological park is located to the west of our site stretching out to meet the ocean, while the modern city of Nea Paphos, interspersed with ancient catacombs, churches, and ruins extend to the north, south and east.
The crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean are little more than a hop skip and a jump from the theatre site. Students and supervisors alike wander down after a long day of digging to wash off the layer of dirt that has built up over the day.
This year I am supervising Trench 16A, a slightly daunting task, however the beauty of participating in a field school is that you are always learning from, and sharing your knowledge with others. The primary aims for 16A are to extend north from the edge of Trench 14A (excavated in the 2014 season), which is located at the top of the Cavea, in order to reveal more of the architectural features, uncovered during the 2014 season. Some of the features we are hoping to gain more information about are the medieval walls, and the possible Roman platform identified in 2014. We will also be continuing the excavations within the boundaries Trench 14A in order to find out more about the features which may be below the possible Roman platform.
While it is only day three of digging we have already uncovered walls, pot fragments, pits, ancient building rubble, coins, and many other features throughout the trenches. If all this information still isn’t enough to tempt to into the world of archaeology, and in particular the Paphos Theater Project, we also have kittens* on site!
*Presence of kittens cannot be guaranteed for every season.
Senior Field Archaeologist