Archaeologists in Cyprus have rediscovered an ancient sanctuary a century after it was found packed with priceless relics but then forgotten when it had been stripped of its artefacts that were sold to foreign museums.
The Sanctuary of Apollo at Frangkissa was first uncovered by German archaeologist Max Ohnefalsch-Richter in 1885, with most of its spoils taken to foreign museums including in the UK.
The site was quickly forgotten about and subsequent searches for its location were unsuccessful.
However, archaeologists working near the archaeological site of Tamassos in central Cyprus have once again stumbled upon the ancient sanctuary, over 100 years later.
Teams led by Dr Matthias Recke of the University of Frankfurt and Dr Philipp Kobusch of the University of Kiel located the sanctuary in a valley south of the village of Pera Orinis after coming across numerous sherds and fragments of sculptures and figurines in the area in October 2020.
They determined that the locality had been inhabited since the Iron Age and throughout the Greek Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods.
The original research that found fragments of limestone figurines and large terracotta statues of horses, chariots, riders and warriors suggested the remains were of an ancient sanctuary that was of significant importance.
The latest discovery of a 15-metre long trench dug by Ohnefalsch-Richter and his team and described in their 19th century report confirmed it as the long-lost Sanctuary of Apollo, which is considered to be one of the most important sanctuaries ever found on the Mediterranean island.
In a press release obtained by Newsflash the Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works said that the new finds of statue fragments and smaller items had probably been overlooked in the excitement of the original discoveries which had subsequently been shipped to museums in the UK, Ireland and even Russia.
Only a small number of the original finds ever remained in Cyprus and are now in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, including the famous “Colossus of Tamassos”.
Archaeologists plan to return to the site to carry out more comprehensive excavation work in the spring of 2021.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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