Monday, May 24, 2010

Ancient Ruins of Kition Kathari

Kathari, the earliest known human habitation and religion in Cyprus.  Built in the 13th century by the Myceneans, birthplace of Zeno.  Destroyed.  Taken over by the Phonecians who built the temple of Astarte and 4 other temples.  So much history in such a small area.

Monumental sacrifice columns.
The site of Kition Kathari is about 35m x 22m, it is constructed mostly of ashlar and filled with rubble.  It has a monumental entrance and a set of columns that I am told represent a place of sacrifice.  The main temple at this location was the Temple of Arstarte, there were also 4 other temples that were used to worship copper metallurgy.  This was also the site of a seaport, the port had silted up and the waters eventually shifted.  The site has been decimated over time from earthquakes and natural erosion.

What I find interesting about the site is that it is about 6 feet below the rest of the level ground.  I am assuming this is because of the tectonic plate movement underneath.  How were the original excavators (Sweden, 1920's) able to date the site?  I would assume most of it would be from the relative context of the site assemblages consisting of the copper works left behind and by the (very little) pottery that was left there.

I noticed looking along the sites edge where you can see the soil, there are no stratigraphic layers.  I examined (as best as I could) many different points along the edge of the site at the exposed soil, but could not find any distinguishing soil layers.  My guess is that there has been vertical shifting of the soil, most likely done after the harbor had silted up.
What was once the sea port.


  1. Thanks for writing such an informative article! Kition is indeed an excellent way to understand the early centuries of the Cyprus people and its ancient culture. Archeologists presented the ruins of the temple and the obvious influence of Roman Architecture. The site is very well set up with viewing platforms and the documentation is excellent. Cyprus is so rich with archaeological sites, just have a peek here to find the best places worth visiting.