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Excavations of the University of Cyprus at the Laona Tumulus Excavations of the University of Cyprus at the Laona Tumulus

Excavations of the University of Cyprus at the Laona Tumulus

The 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 (100 m x 60 m x 10 m) 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 Maria Iacovou, professor, Department of History and Archaeology, since 2006.
The low hillock of Laona, on which the tumulus was raised, lies at a distance of one kilometre to the east of the sanctuary of Aphrodite from where it is clearly visible.

At the beginning of the fifth 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, 70 m 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 13,00 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 metres, and this makes it one of the most significant monuments of the ‘Age of the Cypriot Kingdoms’.

The ceramic evidence suggests that the construction of the mound dates to the third century BC.