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Season 2019

The Paphos Agora Project (PAP) of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków has been conducting research on the Agora in Paphos since 2011 under the guidance of Prof. E. Papuci-Władyka. Since 2015, the project has been examining the economic infrastructure and economic activity of the city, not only on the basis of excavations in the Agora itself, but also outside of it, throughout the entire Archaeological Site of Kato Paphos, based on prospection by non-invasive geophysical methods.

In the 2019 season, the PAP’s research took place in August-September with the participation of researchers from the Warsaw Technical University and the University of Hamburg. Two main goals were set: 1/ determining the size of the Agora in the north, and 2/ identifying streets flanking it from the north and from the east. Excavations were carried out at four points. The main research focused on three trial trenches (TT): on TT.VI started in 2018, and on two new ones founded in 2019 on the basis of the results of a geophysical prospection carried out in previous seasons.  The first is TT.VII located on the north extension of the West Portico of the Agora, the second is TT.VIII on the north extension of the East Portico. Whereas the fourth point, where excavations were carried out, was in   TT.II, i.e. the East Portico, where the research was continued within the room, R.22, discovered last year, and whose exploration has not been completed.

Of the research tasks mentioned above, the second goal was met. In all trial trenches, it was possible to reveal either the street surfaces themselves (in TT.VIII) or the infrastructure associated with them (channels and collector in TT.VI and TT.VII). However, the northern border of the porticos was not discovered. An important result of the research was achieved in  TT.VIII, i.e. the confirmation of the further route of the street marked as P in the city plan reconstructed by J. Młynarczyk (1990), which was also revealed  to the south of the Theatre by the expedition from Sydney in Australia. The PAP research in this year's season has also positively verified the route of street no. 1a, which is an extension of the internal line of the Agora’s West Portico (in TT.VII). However, street no. 2a was discovered in a slightly different place than it would appear from the reconstruction of Młynarczyk - about 20 m to the east (TT.VI).

It should be emphasised that the studied area had been levelled in many places and subjected to robbery exploration, which has hindered the exploration and interpretation by the PAP. The recreation of the history of the studied area was also impeded by the unexpected discovery of several skeletal burials (TT.VII) dug into earlier structures. At present, not much can be said about the nature of this small necropolis. It cannot be ruled out that it may be related to a potentially existing basilica, which may have been located a little further to the NW from  TT.VII. The existence of this basilica was suggested during the initial analysis of geomagnetic research carried out as part of the PAP by the University of Hamburg in that area in 2016. More can be said once the research using the C14 method of dating on the remains of graves, primarily the wooden casket from grave 2, has been completed. It seems that the above-mentioned features, discovered in 2019, can be dated to the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods, while the cemetery could rather be dated to the late Roman period.

In parallel with the excavations, a small-scale geophysical survey, as well as the preservation of the metal objects and studies on cleaned metal objects and coins have been continued. In addition, in early spring, a short study campaign on the anthropological material discovered during excavations in previous years was done.

Text: Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka