Fabrika Hill, Pafos, Republic of Cyprus: the Overview

I’ve just realised that I shouldn’t go into too much depth here (after all, the results remain unpublished and they’re hardly my results), but nonetheless I’m going to give a basic rundown of how things went on the hill, and the coolest things we’ve found.  Don’t confuse my interpretations with those upcoming in academic form from Avignon.

Here is my terrible map of the site as we left it (assume an E-W width of no more than 7m).  The numbering is my own throughout, the points of interest are those that interest me personally, and everything that I mention here is either clearly visible from the road or something I pointed out multiple times to curious visitors.  Formal site maps are much more serious things: one of the French team was a dedicated drawer, and he spent most of his time stretching tape measures over walls, and drawing features to photographic accuracy (whilst playing up the key features, an advantage he’s got over photos).


A breakdown of the points of interest:

1) This wall – the S-N retaining wall – seems to have been cut out of bedrock: after a while as we went down we found this section, unlike the rest, was held up by a gigantic slab of bedrock material that we never did get to the bottom of.

2) This is the wall hole that starred in Holeception.  There were hints of mortar and wall paint in this corner as well, which I’ve taken as support for my interpretation.

3) This E-W wall isn’t contiguous with the walls to its south and east: we know this both because it’s built in a different style with different stone (the rocks are more angular, and only fit due to liberal use of pebble mortar, whereas the original walls are built out of mostly similar, large blocks of sandstone).  We hit the bottom of it towards the end, which demonstrates that it’s from a later period, after much of the bottom of the original house has been filled in.  I’m not sure if this extends into House 3 or even across all of House 4, as much of what could have been this wall is no longer standing.

4) Owain, after wheedling and wangling, managed to get permission to take light trenches on both sides of the House3/4 dividing wall: the reason we know that there even is a House 4 rather than a huge House 3 is due to his discovery of mortar on both sides of the wall.  This sort of thing is uncommon for outside walls.

5) The base of a large and ornate wall painting sits here, the white mortar glinting in the sun.  The paintings themselves have been carefully removed for restoration, so hopefully they’ll make a return soon.  I’ve seen the skills of the restorers: I’m pretty confident they can deliver an accurate and quality piece.

Houses 1 and 2 are probably our best candidates for maintenance.  Look at the site profile again, this time with Microsoft Paint involved:


Only House 1 and 2 have been taken down to their floors: preservation-wise, it seems best to fill in 3 and 4 and restore 1 and 2.  This hopefully will be sharpish, as you can see 1 is being held up by wooden supports right now, and another rainy season could easily take much of this apart.

So what is this place?

The houses, in the end, are probably Augustinian (for Augustus Caesar, reigned 27 BC – 14 AD), as we’ve got nothing Hellenistic to my mind that we can pin on the site except for disorganised pottery fragments.  Given that we know the fill has come from a higher spoil heap, this signifies little, although the assemblage seems substantially weighted to the Roman period.  I still stand by the single-generation hypothesis, but unfortunately nothing explains why it was abandoned.

At some point afterwards (possibly the Lusignan period?  The pottery samples from the fill end around there), House 4 was partially rebuilt, incorporating the remaining ancient walls into a new structure.  No such evidence exists for the two open houses, and House 3 is inconclusive, so we can assume it’s a one-off event: such opportunism in building is universal, with existing walls either being built on again or, as with Hadrian’s Wall, being taken apart for pre-cut building materials.


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