PEATS CYPRUS – Discovering Lost Villages

PEATS Cyprus – Discovering Lost Villages in Larnaca District’s Mountain Region

Dates: TBC
Number of UK Participants: TBC
Duration: 32 days

PEATS Application form

Some minor changes still being confirmed for 2019. There may be a geophysical survey but this will depend entirely on permissions and licences.The 2018 programme revealed a house footprint with roof tiles in the Roman model (the tile design extended into the Crusader and Frankish periods). It is hoped that they can carry out more excavation and explore also some (possibly) Phoenician storage caves. This depends entirely on the survey results. The community archaeology element will be strengthened with more interaction with the local community of Kato Drys.

Accommodation: Room sharing in a house in the village of Kato Drys

Meals: Self catering; some local specialities provided

Communication: internet is available, mobile networks readily available (you will need to check with your provider)

Transport: Vehicles available to get to site, public transport available

Weather: Hotter than UK summer, can be 30-35 degrees C

This is an opportunity for students to go to Cyprus and take part in surveying “Lost Villages” around Ora and Kato Drys. The Kato Drys Community Council has been focusing on a number of villages that have disappeared in the last 500 years.

The Venetians were great traders and they ruled Cyprus  from 1489, when the independent Kingdom of Cyprus ended, until 1570–71, when the island was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. During this time they built roads and bridges to open up the island and bring the goods from the mountains to Nicosia and the coast. It was a time of wealth and relative prosperity; the countryside was full of people and there were many more people living outside the coastal cities in villages.

After the quite brutal conquest by the Ottomans, there was a rural decline and much change. The villages were less well looked after and protected. Some were moved or amalgamated because they were too visible to Barbary pirates from the sea, others suffered from drought and disease. Nowadays there are tantalizing clues but little written evidence.

The group will concentrate on the villages of Apliki, Pano Drys and Helladonia, The placement gives the chance to learn and develop skills in…

Researching church records – with the help of Panayiota Demetriou, the Church Warden, the group will delve into church records held in St Charalambous church and Nicosia (Dept of Antiquities) to trace the families from the villages that have been lost

Assembling a photographic archive, with the help of authorities & local people – for example threshing platforms, views and vernacular scenes

Field walking – with local historians & landowners to locate (particularly) Pano Drys

Museum Authority Liaison – with two local museums in Kato Drys, look at their archives, records and finds from the lost villages

Minor excavation and full recording of a cave dwelling or storage area thought to belong to Pano Drys. Determining the house structure (through some excavation & cleaning) of village houses in Helladonia – a village abandoned due to disease; in this the hosts are helped by the Forestry Department on whose land the ancient village is located.

Oral history – speaking (via interpreter) with village members in Kato Drys, recording old poems and songs that speak of the lost villages, as well as local stories and legends

A cultural programme includes:-

Hiking in the Troodos mountains – focus on Venetian archaeology and vernacular farming and turpentine extraction settlements

Visiting the Roman cities of Salamis & Soli (in Turkish Cypriot North Cyprus) as well as the famous classical period mosaics in Paphos & Kourion

Visit to Nicosia – both sides of the divided city

As with most archaeological sites, expect a degree of physical work. As with all our placements, participants are joining partner excavations. These are not UK led excavations. The group will be learning different methods and techniques that are used for this particular site, so must expect differences in how the site is run.


The Erasmus + grant will cover accommodation, food (3 meals a day), return, flights, insurance, transport to site and supervision. Participants will have to make sure they have their EHI card and budget for personal purchases and excursions.

If you are interested in this placement, then the application form is available to download on the PEATS Archaeology main page.

For past participants feedback, please refer to our Participants Reports page

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.