Mysterious structure discovered during excavations at the Laona tumulus in Cyprus

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Mysterious structure discovered during excavations at the Laona tumulus in CyprusFigure 2: Excavations of The University of Cyprus found peculiar square monument not made for internal use

Cyprus Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works announces the completion of the University of Cyprus annual field campaign on the tumulus of Laona at Palaepaphos which took place in June and September and lasted four weeks.  The Laona tumulus is monumental in size (100m. x 60m. x 10m.) and as such remains unique in Cyprus to this day. The man-made mound was identified for the first time in 2012 in the context of the Palaepaphos Urban Landscape project carried out by Professor Maria Iacovou of the Department of History and Archaeology since 2006.

The low hillock of Laona, on which the tumulus was raised, lies at a distance of one kilometer to the east of the sanctuary of Aphrodite from where it is clearly visible. At the beginning of the 5th century BC, the royal dynasty of the city-state of Ancient Paphos implemented an ambitious building programme on the plateau of Hadjiabdoulla, where a royal residence and an extensive economic complex were constructed. At the same time, 70m north of the Hadjiabdoulla citadel, they had a monumental rampart built on Laona. Over 65 m. of the rampart have now been revealed on the east side of the hill. This impressive defensive project of the Cypro-Classical period was buried under 13.700 cubic meters of marl and red soil, which had been transported for the construction of the tumulus. The Laona fortress was, therefore, well preserved under the tumulus; its NE corner survives to a height of six meters, and this makes it one of the most significant monuments of the “Age of the Cypriot Kingdoms”.

Figure 1 

The ceramic evidence suggests that the construction of the mound dates to the third century BC. Since 2013, the excavations are concentrated in the SE quarter (FIG.1). About 12m. south of the summit, which rises to 114 above sea level, the UC team found at a depth of over six meters a small square (4mx4m) monument (FIG.2). Although its east wall stands to a height of 3,5m., the building was already half destroyed when the mound was constructed. It has a foundation ledge made of unworked stones and red clay (FIG.3). However, there is no relation between the external and internal building plan of the monument; the only part that would have been visible above ground are the external walls made of worked blocks (FIG.4).

The completion of the investigation has established that this peculiar monument was not made for internal use. It contained no objects and no burial chamber. The stone walls formed a shell around a solid homogeneous filling made of worked marl. The preparation of the marl must have taken place in a long channel cut to the east, which communicates with the center of the foundation ledge (FIG.5).

The mystery of the absence of the west wall was solved when the research team identified on the south section of the mound that had covered the building a man-made cutting terminating where the west wall was meant to be. The cutting was subsequently “mended” with a different type of soil. The west wall was thoroughly destroyed down to its foundation base, which rests on bedrock. There is little doubt that this was the work of ancient tomb robbers. They expected to loot a burial chamber but, apparently, they had relied on the untrustworthy information or assumption.  Maybe this was the main role of the small building: to divert attention away from the position of the burial chamber. Looted or not, the burial chamber or the cenotaph, in the name of which the tumulus of Laona was raised, continuous to evade ditection.

The Department of Antiquities of Cyprus has reburied the foundation ledge on the east side and has installed a protective cover over the monument as a temporary preservation measure against weather conditions. The excavations on Laona will be resumed in the summer of 2019; the goal will be the north and north-west contour of the Cypro-Classical rampart (FIG.6).

Tornos
  1. 04/10 16:55

    Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission takes part in World Investor Week 2022

  2. 04/10 16:25

    Embassy of Greece and DOP present tribute to Greek-American women on November 3

  3. 04/10 15:45

    Greek Tourism Minister to Le Monde: Next campaign will focus on sustainable tourism

  4. 04/10 14:28

    Greece's Corinth Canal closes again for completion of restoration works

  5. 04/10 13:59

    Domestic passenger traffic in Athens Airport surpassed 2019 levels by 1.5% in September

  6. 04/10 13:14

    International Micro μ Festival: A 'live' film festival in nine European cities

  7. 04/10 11:58

    EU greenlights €800 mil Greek scheme to support non-household electricity consumers

  8. 04/10 11:07

    Cyprus Airways announces more than double capacity and destinations for summer 2023

  9. 03/10 23:00

    IATA and ITC join forces to improve access to global trade and air cargo supply chain info

  10. 03/10 22:32

    World Tourism Awards 2022: The gems of Greek tourism among top European brands

  11. 03/10 13:55

    BEYOND: Greek tech show in Thessaloniki aims to attract international interest

  12. 30/09 22:44

    Amendment to cap profit margins for fire wood and other solid fuels in Greece

  13. 30/09 16:33

    Wings of Change Europe conference to focus on rebuilding EU air transport system

  14. 30/09 09:38

    Distinguished athletes like Petrounias, Tentoglou, Ntouskos, Millousi, Vlachos, Diamantidis, Printezis, Volikakis, Prevolaraki, Gkolomeev will join the 10 years of Navarino Challenge 2022

  15. 30/09 01:49

    IATA air cargo priorities: Sustainability, modernization, safety and people

  16. 30/09 01:46

    SerExpo Fair: Greece's organic food products could compete in markets abroad

  17. 29/09 22:50

    UNWTO at G20: Putting people and MSMES at forefront of recovery

  18. 29/09 17:24

    'Extra' outdoor space for hospitality sector extended in Greece to January 15

  19. 29/09 16:50

    IATA: Dangerous goods aviation transport survey highlights challenges

  20. 29/09 14:31

    Google's investment plan will create nearly 20,000 well-paid jobs in Greece

  21. 28/09 22:55

    Bill to reorganize Hellenic Railways Organisation voted in Greek Parliament

  22. 28/09 19:58

    "Greece 2.0" plan includes 372 investment projects worth 13.5 billion euros

  23. 28/09 01:36

    IATA: High expectations on sustainability and pandemic preparedness

  24. 28/09 00:51

    Jet2 and Jet2holidays raise capacity to Greece adding three new routes to 2023

  25. 27/09 22:15

    Greek Prime Minister addresses EPP annual meeting held in Crete

  26. 27/09 19:23

    President of Hellenic Republic to inaugurate Athens Democracy Forum on Wednesday

  27. 27/09 19:19

    World Tourism Day 2022: Sector rallies around “Rethinking Tourism” for Mankind

  28. 27/09 17:34

    Greece records 44,775 Covid-19 cases and 97 fatalities on September 19-25

  29. 26/09 23:28

    International tourism returns to 60% of pre-pandemic levels in January-July 2022

  30. 26/09 01:04

    Ancient cemetery findings showcased at Archaeological Museum of Piraeus

  31. 24/09 01:00

    UNWTO welcomes Málaga into International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories

  32. 22/09 23:50

    Animasyros 2022 festival offers wide range of activities on Syros island through Sunday

  33. 22/09 23:45

    Greece's Thessaloniki and Florida's Fort Lauderdale preparing to be twin cities

  34. 22/09 22:38

    US Navy looks for second Greece base at Alexandroupoli port of Greece

  35. 22/09 21:42

    Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund asks for improved offers for Igoumenitsa port

  36. 22/09 21:34

    Thessaloniki port concession amendment ratified by the Greek Parliament

  37. 21/09 19:04

    Accommodation and food service see July turnover soar in Greece

  38. 21/09 18:20

    UN World Tourism Organization supports sector promotion in Tenerife

  39. 21/09 18:17

    Vaccines against O4 and O5 Covid mutations in Greece as of early October

  40. 21/09 11:48

    Greek Prime MInister meets Israeli counterpart in New York

  41. 21/09 09:55

    Direct flights from US to Greece extended during the winter

  42. 20/09 20:48

    Market checks for PDO halloumi compliance in Cyprus

  43. 20/09 20:42

    Volcano lights up in spectacular display of fireworks on Greek island of Santorini

  44. 20/09 20:34

    Impressive statue of Hercules unearthed in Philippi of Northern Greece

  45. 20/09 20:29

    Greek capital of Athens among top-10 most beautiful cities for the second time

  46. 20/09 20:29

    Russian embassy denies claims over flights from Russia to occupied Cyprus

  47. 20/09 19:57

    India and Greece form closer ties after 2400 years of Indo-Greek empire

  48. 20/09 18:14

    No public transport in Athens for Wednesday due to 24-hour strike

  49. 20/09 18:09

    Greece records 36,146 Covid-19 cases on September 12-18, first week of school

  50. 20/09 14:19

    Greek Minister speaks on digital learning and transformation at UN summit

  51. 20/09 12:49

    Minister: Almost 'zero chances' of power cuts due to energy crisis in Greece

  52. 19/09 18:18

    Smyrna Centennial Commemoration organized at Illinois Holocaust Museum

  53. 19/09 18:13

    Tourist arrivals grow by 40% and Cyprus residents' trips abroad by 59% in August

  54. 19/09 18:09

    United Arab Emirates Economy Minister sees strong investment interest in Greece

  55. 19/09 18:05

    GNTO boosts sports tourism in Greece

  56. 19/09 17:55

    Media report: Greece now bets in extending tourist season during the winter

  57. 15/09 18:04

    Media: New King Charles III rules the UK and keeps Greece in his heart

  58. 15/09 17:55

    Stavros Niarchos Foundation offers grant to SFU and UCLA for 3-year pilot program

  59. 15/09 17:44

    Greek government announces seven measures for cheaper housing

  60. 15/09 16:29

    President of Hellenic Republic calls KIng Charles III to express her condolences

  61. 15/09 15:23

    Maritime glow at the 8th Greek Maritime Golf Event

  62. 15/09 14:49

    Modern waste management unit to replace caldera dump in Santorini

  63. 15/09 13:25

    2022 UNWTO Students League starts with national competition in Switzerland

  64. 15/09 11:17

    Officials: Greece and France can improve already good economic collaboration

  65. 15/09 09:34

    Greece plans to boost internet speeds through new satellites

  66. 14/09 21:39

    The United States repatriates ancient Greek sculptures to Italy

  67. 14/09 21:21

    Temperatures to reach 36 Celsius in Greece over the weekend

  68. 14/09 21:06

    AP: Athens Acropolis Museum President Dimitris Pandermalis dies at 82

  69. 14/09 20:50

    Emblematic Zorba the Greek, film, stage actress Irene Papas passes at 96

  70. 14/09 19:35

    Announcements on program for cheap housing loans in Greece on Thursday

  71. 14/09 18:09

    Greek government offering incentives to households to reduce energy consumption

  72. 14/09 17:29

    UNWTO marks 6th Global Conference on Wine Tourism

  73. 14/09 15:33

    Greece’s Vaccine Panel recommends updated COVID-19 shots for vulnerable

  74. 14/09 14:59

    3.50-metre long marble lintel 'rewrites' the late Byzantine history of Lesvos island

  75. 14/09 11:12

    US Ambassador to Athens: Greece the most important partner of the region

  76. 13/09 18:50

    Iconic US Jazz Orchestra performs in support of Athens pre-term newborns

  77. 13/09 18:46

    Media report: Despite COVID, energy crisis, Greece on track for big growth

  78. 13/09 18:30

    Greece records 33,590 Covid-19 cases and 129 fatalities on September 5-11

  79. 13/09 18:21

    Vaccinations against Covid with updated vaccines begin in Greece on Wednesday

  80. 13/09 18:16

    IATA: July aviation passenger demand remains strong

  81. 13/09 18:10

    Times: Andros, Patmos and 8 other islands singled out for a quieter Greek getaway

  82. 13/09 18:07

    Hotel occupancy rates reach 90% in Mykonos island during September

  83. 13/09 17:05

    NEW JOB: COOKING INSTRUCTOR

  84. 13/09 13:37

    These are King Charles III's paintings of Greece

  85. 12/09 21:55

    Greek Tourism Minister signs deal with Austrian counterpart in Vienna

  86. 12/09 21:51

    Greek President addresses symposium on UNCLOS on Rhodes island

  87. 12/09 21:47

    Further Greece-France defence collaboration explored in Thessaloniki

  88. 12/09 17:59

    Expert: Greece can be the 'pleasant exporting surprise of Europe'

  89. 11/09 21:38

    Belgian driver finishes first in EKO Acropolis Rally 2022 in Athens

  90. 08/09 21:43

    International air cargo tracks near pre-COVID pandemic levels

  91. 07/09 11:36

    Run with us for the 10 years of Navarino Challenge

  92. 05/09 21:35

    Greek Tourism Minister in Berlin to discuss extension of season with airlines and tour operators

  93. 05/09 21:32

    British Chef Jamie Oliver in Thessaloniki for TV production

  94. 05/09 21:22

    Research | Tourism: Value for money determines travel destination selection

  95. 05/09 14:43

    Ambassador to Athens Sulaiman Almazroui: Greek-UAE relations exceptional

  96. 03/09 21:38

    UNWTO joins European Historic Thermal Towns Association to promote thermal tourism

  97. 29/08 15:51

    More unsettled weather expected in Greece during the week

  98. 29/08 15:04

    Athens mayor meets NY counterpart to discuss promotion of Greek capital

  99. 29/08 09:54

    Greek island of Rhodes seeking to attract tourists during winter also

  100. 28/08 22:08

    Circular economy to be in the spotlight at 86th TIF in Thessaloniki of Greece