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
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.
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.
||(Klick on images to enlarge)