Logo Ancient copper production on Cyprus

Deutsche Version

Field Survey

The Sia-Mathiatis-Agia Varvara Survey Project

Since 1982, the broader area around the site of ALMYRAS has been surveyed for ancient mining and smelting evidence. The recent archaeometallurgical survey of the Sia-Mathiatis-Agia Varvara region commenced 1995 with walking sessions on the fields around the modern mines of Sia and Mathiatis. A copper smelting site with two well preserved furnaces was discovered at the modern open cast mine of South Mathiatis, worked for gold in this century. Radiocarbon dating showed 2490 50 y BP to be the date of the installation. The furnaces are of the same age as the ones of the earliest smelting activities at Agia Varvara-ALMYRAS.

The largest site of ancient copper production discovered so far is most probably linked to the modern mine of Sia. About 100 tons of slag were discoverd at the location called Sia-Anogia. Analytical work on slags and metals is in progress. Preliminary results show a similar technology as at Almyras.

Location of Sia-Anogia

More multiphase sites exclusively linked to copper production are to be expected in the Sia Valley. Future field work in this highly mineralized area has the potential to contribute considerably to the history of copper production on Cyprus over the last three millenia and will be necessary to accurately place ALMYRAS into a socio-economic and historical context.

Future archaeometallurgical investigation must ultimately concentrate on the assessment, documentation and protection of the remaining evidence of Cypriot copper working from all periods. These are an important but rapidly disappearing part of the cultural heritage of this country. In every spot where large mines in this century have been opened, remains of ancient working have been exposed. Erosion, thoughtless destruction and reuse of these open cast mines as garbage dumps call for considerable investment in emergency protection.

South Mathiati furnaces
(Klick on images to enlarge)
Protection of furnaces