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An ancient eating place was uncovered in Paphos
2005-09-02 14:38:11

ONLY a few decades before Christ, pilgrims flocked to the small island of Yeronissos, just off the coast of Ayios Georgios Peyias in Paphos, to worship an ancient god, probably Apollo, and enjoy banqueting.

Archaeologists from New York University under the direction of Professor Joan Breton Connelly digging on the southern coast of the island have discovered open-air kitchen and washing-up facilities facing out to the sea, while the dining rooms, equipped with sitting benches seemed to be located inland, according to the Cyprus Weekly.

The report also said that south of a diagonal wall a hearth and many cooking pots were found, along with a washing basin at floor level, made of re-used broken amphora shards smeared with a thick baked clay lining.

Built up against and respecting the diagonal wall were found a series of substantial stone rubble walls, oriented along north/south and east/west axes, apparently representing a very slightly later phase in construction and defining a series of rooms measuring roughly 4.5 by 4.5 square.

Two of the rooms were equipped with stone platforms that rose some 40cm above floor level. The area surrounding these platforms or benches was literally filled with pottery, lamps, and other objects.

In a nearby room two stone slabs were inscribed with the Greek monogram Eta Gamma, around which many pots were similarly deposited.

The 2005 season on Yeronissos resulted in the excavation of many cooking pots, drinking bowls and cups, jugs and lagynoi, stone pierced disks, bronze needles, a bronze fish hook and three limestone amulets.

The material recovered during previous seasons can be comfortably dated within the years 80-30 BC, but an even narrow chronology is likely and it is during the third quarter of the 1st century BC that the island enjoyed its most robust period of activity.

The precise nature of activity in late Hellenistic Yeronissos is not yet fully understood, though evidence points to the worship of Apollo and to the presence of pilgrims.

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