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Paphos excavation of mysterious tomb reveals unexpected

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Surprises were in store for archaeologists working on the second phase of excavations at the mysterious tumulus of Laona, near Paphos, a prosperous administrative centre before the Hellenistic period.

The excavations revealed new data on the dimensions of the mound and the area of ​​the fort located at the same spot.

The Department of Antiquities said the rare mound of Laona hid the existence of a rampart, the implementation of which required enormous human resources under the guidance of skilled engineers.

Mounds of monumental dimensions, such as the Macedonian ones, were until recently unknown in Cyprus.

In 2011, Laona hill, located one kilometre northeast of the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia, was identified in the PULP landscape analysis programme as a human-made mound of enormous dimensions.

However, the results of this year’s research held yet another surprise, as they overturned the perception about the course of the rampart and revealed the interventions that took place.

Instead of the expected westerly turn below the top of the mound (at 114m above sea level), the defensive monument takes an unexpected course, crossing diagonally across the northern side of the mound, below which it is preserved in exceptionally good condition.

This development redefines the calculations concerning the mound’s dimensions and the rampart’s area, the western side of which will be sought next.

Together with the eastern part of the fort, the total visible length of this rare monument exceeds 160 metres, while its area would have been at least 1,740 square metres. The width of the rampart is determined at 5 metres.

The construction method of the rampart is based on alternating layers of stones and bricks.

The maximum documented height of the rampart at the point of the top of the northern scale is determined to be 8 m.

Construction of the fort goes back to the 5th century BC. and is the work of the Greek royal dynasty of Paphos.

In October, the University of Cyprus will conduct the second phase of the research.