Fragments of marble sculptures from a monument consecrated to the nymphs of ancient Greek and Roman mythology have been uncovered during ongoing excavations at Paphos’ ancient theatre, the archaeological team in charge of the dig have announced. The 15th season of excavations into one of Cyprus’ largest ancient theatres unearthed a number of significant finds, including fragments of carved marble adornments from the stage and from a monument to the nymphs or nymphaeum.
Paphos was the capital of Cyprus in Greek and Roman times and its ancient archaeological remains are on the World Heritage List. Of particular interest to the archaeological team, led by Dr Craig Barker and Dr Smadar Gabrielli of the University of Sydney, is that the Paphos theatre is the only ancient theatre in Cyprus not to have undergone modern restoration. As such it is a unique structure because it is the sole remaining theatre containing visible traces of its architectural development.
Investigations have revealed that the theatre underwent five phases of renovations between 300 BC and the 4th century AD, each phase representing the evolution of ancient performance and theatre architecture. Many of the architectural features were robbed in later antiquity, and the area of the site was built over in the Middle Ages.
Five trenches were opened by the archaeological team in 2012 in various locations around the theatre and the nearby Roman nymphaeum.