Excavations at Kourion’s Amathous Gate Cemetery, Cyprus

The Greco-Roman port-city of Kourion lies on a plateau overlooking the south coast of Cyprus, just west of Akrotiri Peninsula (Lat. 34.667; Long. 32.883). One of its most striking features is the cemetery that lines the road leading up to the Amathous Gate on the south-eastern side of its Acropolis. The tombs range from the Hellenistic to Late Roman period (3rd century BC to 7th century AD), and include a rich range of artefactual material and the very well preserved skeletal remains of at least 111 individuals. Closely associated with this material is a range of other interesting and important features, such as the remains of quarrying, a rich deposit of discarded material which might be from funerary feasting, and a lime kiln. The excavations at Kourion’s Amathous Gate Cemetery, directed by the late Dr Danielle Parks (Brock University, Ontario), took place each year from 1995 to 2000, with study seasons from 2001 to 2005. Subsequent to the death of Dr Parks in 2007, an international publication team directed by the applicant (who has been with the project since its beginning) has been working on the analysis of the data and material and on the writing up of the final publication. Research questions include the change from pagan to Christian burial practices, the relationships and health of the people buried in the tombs, and the way this ‘funerary landscape’ was used by the mourners.

The lead researcher is Dr. Michael Given (University of Glasgow), who has been involved with the project since the beginning. His role will be to coordinate the publication process, ensuring the successful completion of different components according to the schedule, integrating the project’s different elements, and overseeing the production of the final volume. He has extensive experience of doing precisely this from coordinating the two-volume publication of the Troodos Archaeological and Environmental Survey Project, Cyprus (published November 2013). He is also responsible for the sections on survey and quarrying, and will be co-authoring the overall analysis and conclusions.