Kourion

The mount of Kourion, on which the ancient city-kingdom developed, occupies a dominant position on the coast 4 km southwest of the village of Episkopi in the Lemesos district. The earliest evidence of settlement in the broader area of Kourion dates to the Neolithic period (4500-3900 B.C.), whilst the most ancient remains in the area of the ancient city itself are connected with settlements and tombs of the Middle and Late Bronze Age. According to tradition Kourion was founded by Argives in the 13th century BC, during the first wave of the Mycenaean expansion and others followed the Argives in the 12th century as a result of the Dorian invasion of Greece.

Systematic excavations were undertaken in 1933 by the Pennsylvania University Museum, and continued, with a break during the war years, until 1954. During the excavations the building of the Achilles Mosaic, the Theatre, the Baths and the Complex of Eustolios, the Stadium and the Sanctuary of Apollon Hylates came to light (during 1980-1983 the excavation of this site was undertaken by the American Mission of the Walters Art Gallery and the Universities of Missouri and Maryland) . In 1974-1979 the American Mission of the Dumbarton Oaks Centre for Byzantine Studies carried out excavations in the Early Christian Basilica of Kourion. At the same time (from 1964 until today) the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus excavated the Agora, the House of Gladiators, the Small Basilica next to the Stadium and the newly discovered Coastal Basilica. The Department is also responsible for the creation of the archaeological park of Kourion.

Margarita Mitella

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