Sewerage works unearth section of the ancient aqueduct of Amathus


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A very interesting underground tunnel dating back to the Roman period and estimated to have been part of a larger aqueduct that carried water to the ancient city of Amathus, was discovered by the employees of SALA (Limassol – Amathus Sewerage Board) during excavation works in April in the Parekklisia area.

Sewerage works unearth section of the ancient aqueduct of Amathus
Credit: SALA

The tunnel has a south-western direction, towards Amathus, the top was found at a depth of two metres from the surface, and is one and a half metres high and 50 centimetres wide.

The official of the Department of Antiquities in Limassol, Yannis Violaris, expressed the view that the ancient aqueduct starts further north, towards the area of Lystovounos, where there are still water sources. “In antiquity,” he explained, “aqueducts followed the terrain, carrying water from the source to the city and depending on the geomorphology, some parts of the aqueducts were underground, as in our case, others were surface and others aerial, i.e. on an archway, as in the case of the Larnaca aqueduct, but which dates back to the Turkish occupation, it is much later.”

“The top of the tunnel found at Parekklisia is shaped like an arch and at the bottom there are clay pipes. The whole structure indicates that it was a large public work and resembles similar ones found in Alexandria, Athens and elsewhere of the same period,” he noted.

At the same time, he said that the French Amathus archaeological mission of Amathus had unearthed the bases of the archway of the city’s Roman aqueduct in the area between the motorway and the citadel of Amathus during its excavations. During the French expedition’s surface investigations, among many other elements that remain unpublished, an inscription on a clay pipe was found which indicates that the construction itself, or possibly a rebuilding of the aqueduct, dates back to the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian, in the 2nd century AD.

Mr. Violaris pointed out that several large public works had been carried out in Amathus and elsewhere during this period. With its abandonment, unknown when, this underground section of the Amathus aqueduct was slowly filled with silt which was carried by the water that flowed down the tunnel during various flooding episodes over the centuries.

Editor’s Note 

Amathus was one of the ancient royal cities of Cyprus until about 300 BC. Some of its impressive remains can be seen today on the southern coast in front of Agios Tychonas, about 39 km west of Larnaca and 10 km east of Limassol. Its ancient cult sanctuary of Aphrodite was the second most important in Cyprus, her homeland, after Paphos. In the Roman era Amathus became the capital of one of the four administrative regions of Cyprus and continued to flourish until the Arab conquest of the island in AD 649.

Source: FileNews [trsl. TANN; May 13, 2021]

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