Ancient theater, the first of its kind, discovered on Cyprus
NICOSIA - Agence France-Presse
The site of an uncovered Hellenistic-Roman theater dating from 300 BC is the oldest structure of its kind yet unearthed on the Mediterranean island.An Australian archaeological team on Cyprus has uncovered a theater dating from 300 B.C., the oldest structure of its kind yet unearthed on the Mediterranean island, the antiquities department said Nov. 6.
“The Australian team has uncovered the oldest theater on Cyprus: a structure that was used as a venue for performance and spectacle for over six-and-a-half centuries from 300 B.C. until its final destruction in the earthquakes of A.D. 365,” said the statement.
“More recent excavations have attempted to position the theater within its ancient urban context by understanding the surrounding ancient structures including a second century A.D. nymphaeum [water fountain],” it added.
Excavations at the site of the Hellenistic-Roman theater of Nea Paphos on Cyprus’ southwestern coast were conducted by the Australian Archaeological Mission from the University of Sydney. In September, the team conducted geo-mapping surveys of ruins of the town’s Roman colonnades.
Excavations immediately to the south of the theater revealed a paved Roman road of approximately 8.4 meter width, which was the main traffic thoroughfare to access the theater, the antiquities department said.
“The existence of this road also confirms that ancient Nea Paphos was laid out on a typical Hellenistic grid plan. The discovery of numerous fragments of granite columns on the theater site confirms the importance of the paved road,” said the statement.
Granite from Turkey
The columns are made from granite from Turkey’s Troad quarries and reflect Roman trade in monumental architectural elements.
The largest and rarest Troad granite columns stood over 7 meters tall.
“Troad granite columns are known from colonnades across the Mediterranean. As the capital city of Cyprus at the time, it is not surprising that Nea Paphos would be adorned with this architectural demonstration of Roman civic order.”
The ancient theater was recorded for the first time using pole photography and photogrammetric programs that stitched together over 2,000 individual high resolution photos.