The Graz Amargeti Survey Project
First campaign: 22–29 October 2019
Director: Gabriele Koiner – Gabriele Ambros
The survey team:
Archaeology: Gabriele Koiner, Maria Christidis, Eva Christof, Ute Lohner-Urban, Alexandra Puhm, Sabine Sturmann
Ancient History: Gabriele Ambros
Geophysics / Ground Penetrating Radar:
Ing. Rainer Morawetz, Technisches Büro für Geophysik, Schalchen, Austria, www.tb-geophysik.at
Ing. Andreas Milchrahm, MSc, Müller & Milchrahm KG, Tragöß, http://www.mmkg.at/
Remote sensing: Vasiliki Lysandrou, Athos Agapiou (Cyprus University of Technology, Remote Sensing & Geo-Environment Research Lab – Eratosthenes Research Centre, Lemesos)
Land surveyor: Andreas Papachristodoulou, Pafos
The village of Amargeti is located ca. 16 km northeast of Pafos and about 14 kilometers north of Palaipafos-Kouklia (bee-line), on the southern slopes of Troodos Mountains, situated on a ridge between the river Ezousa on the west and the river Xeropotamos on the east, 391 m above sea level.
In the 19th century, many limestone statuettes were discovered in the fields north of the village. Therefore, the site was called Petros Anthropos (“Man of Stone”). In 1888, British archaeologists under the direction of D. J. Hogarth discovered votives and inscriptions dedicated to Opaon Melanthios as well as walls partly built with architectural fragments and sculptures. Hogarth (et al.1888, 171) described the place: “Below the village on the north is a deep valley in which two torrents meet and run down to the Ezuza, and it was on the spit of land near the fork of these streams that the vineyard lay in which so many things had been found, and the right of excavation in which we had secured on April 8th. Bronze figurines had also been unearthed from time to time in a yard pertaining to the house of one Stilianos Paphios in the village, and this we had also secured together with some land adjoining.” Hogarth did not mark his excavation on a map.
The site is confined, in the north, by a dirt road and by a stream in a ravine, in the south by a saisonal stream.. The fields are sloping to the southwest, some parcels are terraced. Today, the parcels of Petros Anthropos are cultivated with grain, vine, almonds and olives.
The survey aims to locate the place excavated by Hogarth in 1888. Furthermore, the researches intend to gather all archaeological information in the supposed area in order to document and analyse activities which took place in this site. This comprises settlements, necropoleis and sanctuary sites of all periods.
The survey project aims at the systematic and interdisciplinary investigation of the archaeological landscape and remains of Amargeti as well as the preserving of the cultural heritage for the people of Amargeti. The archaeological aims shall be achieved by documenting surface finds, detecting and analysing subsurface structures by geophysical methods and remote sensing.
During the later 19th century, plenty of limestone statuettes, terracotta and bronze figurines were found in Amargeti. This attracted the British archaeologist D. J. Hogarth who began to dig in a vineyard north of the village. He discovered votives, which were addressed to Opaon Melanthios. Furthermore, in a yard belonging to a certain Stilianos Paphios, some finds of bronze figurines were made.
During the excavations of Hogarth (1888, 769) several walls, some of them built with sculptures, architectural fragments and sculptures were found: “In the vineyard itself I have found remains of walls at a depth of four feet, but, as some of the said statuettes were found built into them, they cannot represent the temple, and the most probable suggestion I can make, after thoroughly trenching the neighbourhood, is that the stream (which is a winter torrent, and possibly has not always run here) has cut away the temple, and piled up its remains–stones, bits of columns, statuettes, and so forth–in the confusion in which we found them.”
The finds unearthed in the course of the excavations were brought to the Cyprus Museum.
The Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project surveyed the hinterland of Kouklia from 1979 until 1991, identifying several sites in Amargeti: Amargeti Village, Amargeti-Triantafylies Ag. Asomatos, Amargeti-Petros Anthropos B Sanctuary of Apollo. The artefacts collected during the survey range from Classical to Byzantine and Mediaeval periods.
A basic contribution to the site was published by Olivier Masson in 1994 who emphasized that in his time still sculptures could be found on the surface: “Ce dernier (sc. F. G. Maier) observe que le secteur a été récemment aplanie au bulldozer ; toutefois, après les pluies d’hiver, on y ramasse encore des fragments de statuettes et des tessons (notamment d’époque romaine) .» This has been confirmed by the local people who named the site Asomatos as further find place of sculptures. Masson recurred on a list of findings provided by Demetrios Michaelides, former archaeological officer of the Pafos District. Michaelides also listed Geometric and Archaic finds. Finds from the Neolithic period, the Bronze Age, the Geometric, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods are mentioned and depicted in an exhibition catalogue edited by George Kaizer, written by S. Sophocleous, E. Vasiliou, C. Pissaridis, C. Argyrou: “Exhibit of Apollo Melanthios” (Nicosia 2002). The Geometric and Archaic vases depicted in this catalogue were confiscated by the Department of Antiquities and most probably come from tombs.
In 2016, Gabriele Ambros dedicated a paper to the sanctuary of Apollon Melanthios at Amargeti. She listed no only archaeological finds and inscriptions found at Amargeti but also made remarks on the epithet Melanthios, the name Opaon and the cult on this site.
Finds before 2018
Objects of former excavations or surveys are stored in the Cyprus Museum (Myres – Ohnefalsch-Richter 1899), in the Archaeological Museum of the Paphos District, in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (https://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/), in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (http://collections.ashmolean.org/) and in the Metropolitan Museum in New York (https://www.metmuseum.org/).
The sculptures are made in limestone, terracotta and bronze. The limestone statuettes predominantly represent male figures, in some cases said to be phallic or holding grapes. Limestone doves and female and male terracotta figurines add to the votive inventory. Several male limestone statuettes in very simple manufacture were declared as late (antique), however, this is unproved. However, three pan statuettes in New York (cf. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/242286) and Odessa, which have been said to come from Amargeti, have been found in Golgoi or other provenances.
During the 1960ies, several finds were reported in the place Petros Anthropos (in Masson 1994, 261–275, esp. 265; Karageorghis 1963; Karageorghis 1964; Karageorghi 1966): a marble base with a dedication to Opaon Melanthios and limestone sculpture of altar with a dedication to Melanthio, a limestone group of three men, a bronze Eros, a Roman lamp.
For the inscriptions from Amargeti see Ambros 2016, Ambros 2017 and Ambros 2019 and IG XV 2 (Praecorpus). The inscriptions are mostly of votive origin, some of them are dedicated to Apollon Melanthios or Opaon Melanthios (cf. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cesnola Collection 74.51.2431, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/241985). At least one inscription attests to a cult of Gaius and Lucius Caesar (Pafos Museum Inv. no. 1241: Mitford 1961, 107–109 no. 9; Fujii 2013, 44. 65. 71. 113. 149). Two epitaphs, one Cypro-syllabic (Masson 1983, 144–145 cat. 88a) and one of Roman times, are rare remains of tomb inscriptions. Furthermore, there are eleven inscriptions on handles of amphorae, discovered in Petros Anthropos, providing informations on the economic relations of the village (I. Nicolaou, RDAC 1970, 159–162; Praecorpus IG XV 2, 117–119 Tit. Amargetti 25-35; Ambros 2016, 62).
Three visits in October 2018, March and April 2019 enabled Gabriele Ambros and Gabriele Koiner to get in contact with the mayor and members of the community of Amargeti as well as to visit the fields on the sites Petros Anthropos and Asomatos. Especially in October 2018, Roman pottery was spotted in Petros Anthropos and Asomatos where also fragments of possibly carved stones were lying on the ground (parts of the church in ruins situated on this parcel?).
The first campaign focused on a general analysis of the cultural landscape of Amargeti as well as on intensive fieldwalking in the sites Asomatos and Petros Anthropos. The squares of 10 x 10 m or 20 x 20 m allowed us to detect concentration of finds.
Especially the site Asomatos – Church in Ruins produced plenty of pottery and also fragments of Archaic, Classsical and Hellenistic terracotta figurines: female and male heads, a body and limbs of animals (and also human beings?). The collected finds range from the Bronze Age until Byzantine and Mediaeval periods. The finds will be processed and analysed in 2020.
The analysis of the aerial photographs and satellite data by Athos Agapiou and Vasiliki Lysandrou brought to light several circular structures in Asomatos and one rectangular structure in Petros Anthropos. According to both researchers, the images clearly show the negative impact of agriculture on the aerial visibility of archaeological sites.
The results of the remote sensing were the basis for the geophysics team. Rainer Morawetz and Andreas Milchrahm applied Ground Penetrating Radar to detect subsurface archaeological remains in the sites Asomatos and Petros Anthropos. The analysis is ongoing.
No tombs have been scientifically explored but they were recorded by Hogarth:
Hogarth 1888, 769: “The tombs lie on the steep rocky hill north of the site, but as might be expected from the rustic character of the other remains, their contents do not repay much exploration.”
Tomb robbing has been practiced until today, and the catalogue of the Apollon Melanthios exhibition (G. Kaizer et al. 2002) lists several Geometric and Archaic complete vessels which were confiscated in the village by the Department of Antiquities (nos. 8–12, 17, 18, 20). They most probably come from tombs. A cypro-syllabic epitaph points to a Classical tomb. Rescue excavations of the Department of Antiquities produced Archaic and Hellenistic pots, probably coming from tombs (Apollon Melanthios exhibition catalogue nos. 13–15, 19).
The modern village of Amargeti consists of buildings of brick and stone which display in rare cases ancient sculptures. The survey team intends to search further artefacts.
The survey team was generously supported by the mayor of Amargeti, Androulla Dimitriou, and the inhabitants of Amargeti. The survey team was warmly hosted by Yiota Kaizer, Kaizer Agrotourism. We cordially thank our hosts and the inhabitants of Amargeti for their help.
The survey activities shall be continued in 2020.
Ambros 2016 G. Ambros, Das Heiligtum des Apollon oder Opaon Melanthios in Amargeti, Zypern, ÖJh 85, 2016, 57–82
Ambros 2017 G. Ambros, Konvergenz und Synkretismus. Die Epitheta des Apollon in Zypern, in: G. Ambros – M. Christidis – G. Koiner (Hrsg.), Antikes Zypern – Kulturen im Dialog. Akten des ersten Zypern-Workshops an der Universität Graz, am 16. Juni 2016, Κυπριακά – Forschungen zum antiken Zypern 1 (Wien 2017) 31–56
Ambros 2019 G. Ambros, Der kyprische Apoll'. Heiligtum und Kult des Apollon Hylates in Kourion, Κυπριακά – Forschungen zum antiken Zypern 3 (Wien 2019)
Fujii 2013 T. Fujii, Imperial Cult and Imperial Representation in Roman Cyprus (Stuttgart 2013)
Hogarth et al. 1888 D. G. Hogarth – M. R. James – R. Elsey Smith – E. A. Gardner, Excavations in Cyprus, 1887-88. Paphos, Leontari, Amargetti, JHS 9, 1888, 147–271
Hogarth 1888 D. G. Hogarth, Excavations in Cyprus. Mr. Hogarth writes from Amargetti, Papho, Cyprus, under the date of May 19th, The Athenaeum 1888, 1, 769
Kaizer et al. 2002 G. Kaizer (Hrsg.) – S. Sophocleous – E. Vasiliou – C. Pissaridis – C. Argyrou, Exhibit of Apollo Melanthios (Nicosia 2002)
Karageorghis 1963 V. Karageorghis, Chronique des fouilles et découvertes archéologiques à Chypre en 1962, BCH 87, 1963, 325–387
Karageorghis 1964 V. Karageorghis, Chronique des fouilles et découvertes archéologiques à Chypre en 1963, BCH 88, 1964, 289–379
Karageorghis 1966 V. Karageorghis, Chronique des fouilles et découvertes archéologiques à Chypre en 1965, BCH 90, 1966, 297–389
Karageorghis et al. 1999 V. Karageorghis – E. Vassilika – P. Wilson, The Art of Ancient Cyprus in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Nikosia 1999)
Masson 1983 O. Masson, Les Inscriptions Chypriotes Syllabiques: Recueil, Critique et Commenté 2(Paris 1983)
Masson 1994 O. Masson, Kypriaka XVIII. Amargetti, un sanctuaire rural près de Paphos, BCH 118, 1994, 261–275
Mitford 1961 T. B. Mitford, Further Contributions to the Epigraphy of Cyprus, AJA 65, 1961, 93–151
Myres 1914 J. L. Myres, Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus (New York 1914; Reprint 1974)
Myres – Ohnefalsch-Richter 1899 J. L. Myres – M. Ohnefalsch-Richter, A catalogue of the Cyprus Museum (Oxford 1899)
Sørensen – Rupp 1993 L. W. Sørensen, Lone W. – D. W. Rupp (Hrsg.), The land of the Paphian Aphrodite : the Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project Artifact and Ecofactual Studies 2 (Göteborg 1993)
Rupp 1981 D. W. Rupp, Canadian Palaepaphos Survey Project. Preliminary report of the 1979 season, RDAC 1981, 251–268
Rupp 1982 D. W. Rupp, The Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project. An overview of the 1979 and 1980 seasons, Echos du monde classique. Classical Views 1, 1982, 179–185
Rupp 1984a D. W. Rupp, Canadian Palaipaphos (Cyprus) Survey Project. Second preliminary report, 1980 – 1982, Journal of Field Archaeology 11, 1984, 133–154
Rupp 1984b D. W. Rupp, The Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project. An overview of the 1982 and 1983 seasons, Echos du monde classique. Classical Views 3, 1984, 147–156
Rupp 1986 D. W. Rupp, The Canadian Palaipaphos (Cyprus) Survey Project. Third preliminary report, 1983 – 1985, Acta Archaeologica 57, 1986, 27–45
Rupp 1987a D. W. Rupp (Hrsg.), Western Cyprus. Connections. An Archaeological Symposium Held at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, March 21–22, 1986 (Göteborg 1987)
Rupp 1987b D. W. Rupp, The Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project. An overview of the 1986 season, Echos du monde classique. Classical Views, 6.1987, 217–224
Rupp 1992 D. W. Rupp, Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project. 1991 field season, RDAC 1992, 285–317
Rupp 2004 D. W. Rupp, Evolving strategies for investigating an extensive terra incognita in the Paphos District by the Canadian Palaipaphos Survey Project and the Western Cyprus Project, in: M. Iacovou (Hrsg.), Archaeological field survey in Cyprus : past history, future potential ; proceedings of a conference held by the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus, 1-2 December 2000 (London 2004) 63–76
Rupp – King 1983 D. W. Rupp – R. H. King, Canadian Palaipafos Survey Project (CPSP), in: A. R. Hands – D. R. Walker (Hrsg.), Archaeological Survey in the Mediterranean Area (Oxford 1983) 323–327
Department of Antiquities, Cyprus:
Department of Lands and Surveys, Cyprus: https://portal.dls.moi.gov.cy/en-us/Pages/The-Department-of-Lands-and-Surveys-Web-Portal.aspx
Municipality of Amargeti: https://amargeti.org/en/
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum: https://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/
Oxford, Asholean Museum: http://collections.ashmolean.org/