Digging the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates at Alonia tou Episkopou

From a press release:

The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces that from the 12th to the 31st August 2010 the French Archaeological Expedition at Pafos (dir. Dr Claire Balandier) and the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus (Dr E. Raptou), worked together at the so-called sanctuary of Apollo Hylates of Nea Pafos at the locality of Alonia tou Episkopou (Yeroskipou). The whole monument was cleared from the debris (corridor, first and second underground rooms and rocky surface), the site was studied archaeologically and precise drawings (plan and sections) were made. This monument is known for the two Cypro-syllabic inscriptions carved on its walls.

The cleaning of the monument revealed that the underground circular chamber (5m. diameter) has a rocky bench around it. At the centre of this room a semi-circular hollow was excavated which could have been used for libation. No archaeological artifacts were unearthed, but it could be supposed that this hollow was cut at the same time the chamber was created, since the northern extremity of its diameter is exactly under the highest part of the vault, the point where it starts to be carved. In the first room the remains of an alphabetic inscription were found: an alpha with a broken line can easily be read. The tool marks of the ancient workers can be seen in both rooms.

Only modern artifacts were found during the excavation, as well as a rock crystal carefully hidden in the eastern rocky wall of the dromos. The place was still respected when it became a quarry, probably sometime in antiquity. The survey of the surrounding ancient quarry noted the traces of ancient extraction of columns and blocks. It seems that in the Early Christian period the first room became a chapel and it was later used as a shelter for shepherds and their livestock.

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