WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - The Lycoming College Archaeology Program has announced its completion of the 2012 expedition of Idalion, Cyprus. Dr. Pamela Gaber, professor of archaeology and Judaic studies and director of Lycoming's field school, led the project from June 25- Aug. 10.
Students participating in this year's dig included Sam Clarke, Stephanie Collado, Lydia Dwyer, Matiana Gallegos, Danielle Grega, Harry Kallet, Taylor Kendra, Jacob Kupperman, Monica Martinez, Joe Mayer, Chelsea Reimer, David Shepard, Isaiah Spires, Amy Vaughn and Andrew Wright.
According to Gaber, students explored the Adonis Sacred Grove on the shoulder of the East Acropolis of ancient Idalion, Mouti tou Arvili.
During the expedition, founding levels of some of the earliest structures in the six-hectare sanctuary were reached upon the bedrock. Findings showed that pits were cut in the original rock of the hill, and the earliest walls, which date to the 11th century BCE, were laid upon it. This earliest level of the sanctuary most closely resembles the sanctuary to the Great Goddess on the top of the acropolis of ancient Amathus.
Another find occurred when the group explored an ancient road from Idalion to Kition, where the main gat of the ancient city was found. It was destroyed during renovation of the road. Only the socket for the gate pivot was visible among the bulldozed area, and in undertaking a dig across the road, two walls were revealed. One of the walls could be dated back to the Hellenistic and Roman period, while the other was dated much earlier, probably the 6th century BCE.
Work also continued in the Sanctuary of the Paired Deities below the west acropolis administrative center. The earliest material yet was found in this area, which was the central place of worship of ancient Idalion. It was there that one of the most interesting finds was discovered under a pair of standing stones. The stones appear to have been continually revered from the 5th century BCE to the Roman period. This year's dig revealed that they were set up atop a platform on which two wooden pillars stood. These seem to have been burnt completely around 450 BCE, the same time the Phoenicians destroyed - and later rebuilt - the administrative complex just south of the Temple. It is possible that these objects of worship were burnt as part of the conquest in order to establish the new rule of the people from Kition over the Cypriotes of Idalion.
Next year, the expedition hopes to pursue the fascinating early history of the ancient city-kingdom of Idalion.
"We will continue working in the Sanctuary of the Paired Deities, in the Adonis Temenos, and in the industrial area below the East Acropolis," says Gaber. "All of our work is undertaken with deep gratitude to the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, and with the support of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute."
Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., the College fosters academic rigor, a supportive faculty and successful outcomes. It offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 educational institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812, Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation.