Sewerage work uncovers ancient tombs in Cyprus

Ancient tombs hailing from the Phoenician period between the 4th and 6th century BCE were discovered on Sunday on Faneromeni Avenue in Larnaca during work on the town’s sewage system. 

Excavations of the Larnaca grave site revealed by sewerage works [Credit: Cyprus Mail]
According to archaeologists, the graves may be an extension of the ancient tomb known as the catacomb which dates back to the 4th century BCE and can be found under the old church of Panayia Faneromeni.   

Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroutziatis said work on the sewerage system will stop temporarily at the site until a decision is taken in collaboration with the antiquities department on whether excavations should continue to find any new possible archaeological discoveries.  

“The discovery of Phoenician tombs is yet another indication that Larnaca is a city filled with history. It is an area continuously inhabited for four thousand years, and the discovery of ancient tombs and sarcophagi proves this to be true,” he said.    

What appears to be a sarcophagus found during the excavation [Credit: Cyprus Mail]
Larnaca town and especially the Faneromeni area was a vast cemetery in antiquity, with scattered tombs known as ‘Larnaces’, which is how the city of Zeno took its name, he added.   

Father Michael, a priest from the nearby Church of Panayia Faneromeni, said plans have been prepared for the renovation of the catacomb under the old church and the creation of an underground museum. The project will cost €300,000, half of which will be covered by the antiquities department.   

Source: Cyprus Mail [May 01, 2012]

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