Early Christian Religious Structure Found Within Akrotiri Forest
According to a Department of Antiquities release, an archaeological investigation in Akrotiri Forest has revealed a total floor area of 230 square meters covered with mosaics in very good condition. They appear in separate panels and represent at least 16 different geometric motifs. “They are representative of almost every geometric motif discovered in Cyprus mosaics so far with some novel ones as well,” said Dr. Eleni Procopiou, Senior Archeological Officer and director of the excavations.
In the central part of the excavation, archaeologists found a raised area with a partially preserved limestone support which could be the Holy Bema or some other structure of importance.
Among the movable finds are large amounts of architectural material, mainly of Proconnesian marble in small fragments from columns and Corinthian capitals, as well as members from other structures. The large number of marble revetments of varying widths indicates the luxury of the structure and the smaller fragments of yellow Italian marble slabs in the shape of parts of the human body indicate the existence of iconic representations. In additions, a large number of small glass pane fragments suggests that this luxurious church had window openings, probably filled with gypsum lattice and glass.
Although thrilled with the discovery, Dr. Procopiou added that the process would be slow considering they are only able to work one month out of the year due to environmental considerations. She explained that the 5th-6th century AD site is situated within a very sensitive natural environment. In addition to a conservation team of the Department of Antiquities in Limassol under the supervision of Eleutherios Charalambous, British authorities supported the excavation.