The sunrises over the 2019 field season!
Last week we began work back at the site of the Hellenistic-Roman theatre of Nea Paphos; our first excavation season since 2017 and the nineteenth excavation season.
In 2019 the team (more than 70 people!) will be opening trenches above the theatre on Fabrika hill, over the Roman road south of the theatre and along the foundations of the stage building. Follow us in coming weeks as we excavate a number of trenches, analysis and study the finds from this and past seasons, and learn more about the ancient theatre of Paphos.
The study of the traces of painted plaster from the Roman phases of the Paphos theatre by Professor Diana Wood Conroy is one of the most exciting aspects of the Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project. It gives a tantalising glimpse of how colourful antiquity must have been, as well as the creative expression on the walls of the theatre (an old building by the time of the application of the paint brush to the plastered surface of the parodoi in the Antonine phase).
That is why it is exciting to see splashes of colour on old walls now in Ktima Paphos as part of the Pafos2017 festivities. Street art is reflective of contemporary culture just as the designs on the theatre's wall reflected Roman tastes and styles. Some of the works exhibited in Paphos are extraordinary.
One can only wonder what future archaeologist will make of the faded traces of the painted walls of Paphos c. 2017.
The Street Art Square Festival was part of Pafos2017 celebrations.
In amongst our more usual finds each season - ceramic sherds, architectural pieces, rusted metals and fragments of glass ancient to modern, there is always something odd. Something which doesn't quite fit.
Trench 17B this year provided the team with that "odd" object - a cassette tape in one of the upper layers, very close to one of the former farms used as a dig house in the early seasons of the excavations.
Perhaps it was left there by one of the students in our first mid-1990s seasons. After all, the walkman was still a popular form of entertainment then, long before digital music platforms.
The archaeology of archaeology!
Today for the first time in the history of the site, the architecture was recorded from above using a drone.
Despite the use of helicopters and balloons in the past to capture the site from the air, the use of a drone will provide us with stable aerial images.
We shall put some online as soon as they are processed; today despite some wind and bad weather, the flight of the drone went perfectly as can be seen in these photos from the ground!
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, specialists in reconstructing the ancient world using exciting new technologies.
The 3D model is viewable through VR googles.
The model allows the viewer to explore a hypothetic reconstruction of the ancient theatre from three different view points; the upper cavea, the centre of the orchestra and the eastern side of the orchestra. The immersive experience is a wonderful means to allow people to experience what the theatre would have been like during this dynamic period in the theatre's history.
The model is also a great example of our commitment towards public engagement with the archaeological process and the remarkable ancient theatre of Paphos. It was a massive success in the recent exhibition Travellers from Australia.
Stills from the model.
The VR model being viewed both on site and as part of the exhibition Travellers from Australia in Paphos.
The Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project is committed to sharing our results with the public.
In October Craig Barker and Diana Wood Conroy published a paper in The Conversation exploring the relationship between archaeology and contemporary visual arts and our artist program.
The paper 'Old sites, new visions: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus' can be read here.
Rowan Conroy, Paphos Theatre Full Moon, April 2006.
Each season our team including the directors, students, architects, volunteers, ceramicists and other finds specialists will blog about the day to day sweat and adventures that come with life on an archaeological dig.