(ORDO NEWS) — In Cyprus, archaeologists have rediscovered the sanctuary of Apollo in the ancient city of Frangissa, found about 130 years ago and forgotten by everyone around the same time.
This amazing discovery was reported by the CyprusMail edition. The fact is that the treasures from the ancient temple of Apollo in Frangisse have long been well known to specialists.
They appeared in museums more than a century ago. In particular, artifacts from this sanctuary are on display in London and Toronto. However, until recently, none of the scientists knew the exact location of this temple.
It is believed to have been built around the 7th century BC. It was one of the most important temples of the ancient kingdom of Tamassos. It contained colossal statues of gods and terracotta figures of important persons.
This sanctuary was first discovered in the 19th century. The “rescue operation” in 1885 was carried out by the German archaeologist Max Onefalsch-Richter. The result of this “salvation” was that most of the finds were sent to foreign museums. Only a small part of them remained in Cyprus, including the famous Colossus of Tamassos. It is now kept in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. After the work of Onefalsch-Richter, this important sanctuary was forgotten for more than a century, for several reasons.
“One of them is that Onefalsch-Richter wanted to publish his own research on the finds because of their great importance, and therefore he did not want to disclose information until the publication of his book,” says one of the leaders of the excavation, Dr. Matthias Recke from the University of Frankfurt. “However, he experienced constant financial difficulties, which made him lacking the time to continue research. Therefore, the book never appeared. At the time of his death in 1917, only an unfinished manuscript was available, which could not be published in this form.” …
The researcher added that the excavation site was filled up again by the order of Onefalsh-Richter, and the work itself was carried out in a great hurry and took only a few days. This was the condition of the landowner who planned to use the area for farming.
The interest in archeology at that time was not very great, so no one thought about preserving the ruins, even from the point of view of developing tourism. Moreover, in the British Museum, which acquired valuable exhibits more than a century ago, they were cataloged as “sculptures from Tamassos”. Gradually, their connection with Frangissa was forgotten.
The first attempt to reopen the Temple of Apollo was made in the 1980s. But then it was only possible to identify a number of artifacts from this temple, which were previously stored in the museum funds with the mark “Old collection” without indicating the origin of such items.
It is only now that an international team of archaeologists have managed to find the forgotten sanctuary. By the way, the unfinished Onefalsh-Richter manuscript became an important source of information. In October last year, archaeologists conducted preliminary excavations in the Nicosia area. The main work will be carried out after the lifting of the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection.
But even the data already obtained was enough to expand knowledge about the history of this temple and the kingdom of Tamassos. Scientists believe that Frangissa has been used for living for a very long time. The city was founded here at least in the 7th century and existed before our era.
Archaeologists believe that this metropolis of its time suffered a sudden collapse. There is an assumption that the city died as a result of some kind of natural disaster. It may have been a landslide that allowed the statues from the sanctuary of Apollo to survive to this day.
By the way, not only terracotta figures and numerous limestone statues were found in Frangisse, but also marble statues, which is extremely rare in Cyprus when researching structures of this early period.
“Marble is not found in Cyprus, so it had to be imported,” says Recke. “There are several inscriptions found in Frangisse and engraved on marble. They tell of how the Phoenicians arrived here from Kition, present-day Larnaca. They were probably merchants, who were attracted by the rich copper mines located just two kilometers from Frangissa.”
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