Conservation of Finds from Underwater sites 2013 – 2016
Reports from the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
In recent years very important steps have been made in Cyprus for the advancement of underwater archaeology and conservation.
There has been an increasing demand for underwater surveys a result of, firstly, the Department of Antiquities’ (DoA) strategic aim to map and record the underwater wealth of the island and, secondly, the current exploitation of the island’s marine resources. These, together with the systematic excavations of two wrecks off the coast of the island (Mazotos and Nissia), have highlighted the importance of incorporating underwater archaeology and conservation in the sphere of archaeological activity on the island.
- The DoA, the Governmental Department responsible for all archaeology on the island, has been working on many fronts by documenting the underwater wealth, improving protection measures, allocating resources for training and dissemination and for developing the infrastructure for underwater archaeology and conservation. Some of these include:
- Amendments to legislative framework that govern underwater cultural heritage provide protection to the highest level for all underwater antiquities that lie within Cyprus’ Marine Zones, including the Continental and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). At the same time the power to declare Underwater Historic Monuments in Cyprus’ Territorial Sea have been reinforced whilst these have expanded to both the Continental and the EEZ.
- Coastal and underwater positions, chance finds and activities (excavations and surveys) are recorded by the DoA and will be mapped as part of the Department’s Cyprus Archaeological Digitization Programme (CADiP).
- Moreover great emphasis has been placed in setting up the DoA’s Conservation Laboratory for Underwater Finds. The lab was created in 2008 as a response to the discovery of the Mazotos wreck but has since been upgraded to adapt to the needs and demands generated by the increasing activity in the field. The DoA has diverted resources towards improving the infrastructure and capability of the laboratory so that both current and short-term future demands are met. All underwater finds are treated in this lab: ceramics, glass, metals, organics and many more.
Since 2013 the HFF has been supporting the conservation work carried out by the DoA by financing a variety of activities. These range from funding Conservators to provide their services for Underwater Finds (2013-4, 2014-5, 2016-7), to supporting a study visit to established conservation facilities in Scandinavia (2014), to providing funds for the purchase of equipment and of publications and, more recently, providing support for consultancy services for the conservation of metallic artefacts and a cast iron cannon from the Nissia shipwreck.
Introduction The Honor Frost Foundation (HFF) has, since 2013, been supporting the Department of Antiquities’ (DoA) efforts in the Conservation of underwater finds. Initially it funded the position of a part time Assistant Conservator for underwater finds, whilst in 2014, a three year grant (renewed on an annual basis) was offered to fund the position […]
The fields of Underwater Archaeology and Conservation have been developing gradually in Cyprus in recent years. The discovery in 2007 of the Mazotos shipwreck which dates to the Classical Period and is located approximately 2.5km off the south coast of the island, has created a new dynamic in a field that up until recently was […]