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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 08:18, March 13, 2006
Venetian coins found in Cyprus
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Some 300 to 400 copper Venetian coins have been unearthed during excavations in the old city of Nicosia, local press reported on Sunday.

The coins were found near the remains of an Ottoman Bath, where new offices of the Sewage Board will be built.

The excavation site of the coins led to speculation that the bath was built during the first few years of the Ottoman period in Cyprus, when Ottoman currency may not yet have been initiated and circulating around the island.

The Venetian Period in Cyprus lasted from 1489 until 1571, when the Ottomans conquered Famagusta and brought Cyprus under the umbrella of the Ottoman Empire for the next 300 years.

"The most likely scenario is that the Ottoman bath was built sometime from 1571 to 1578 when they might have still been using the Venetian coins," Pavlos Flourentzos, director of the Antiquities Department, was quoted as saying.

The copper Venetian coins are currently being treated in the Cyprus Museum for preservation purposes.

Modern Nicosia is built upon the ruins of a succession of civilizations, including Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, and Ottoman.

Because there were no mechanical means to remove the rubble created when ancient builders demolished old structures, they would simply build on top of the rubble, thereby creating a new layer of ruins on top of the old ones.

Cypriot archaeological officer George Georgiou said that since Nicosia was a Bronze Age town, Bronze Age remains can be found in some parts of the city, thereby making it "one of the most ancient capitals in Europe".

The island's Antiquities Department classifies certain areas of Cyprus as Class A or Class B Monument sites.

Class A sites are under the ownership of the Antiquities Department, while Class B sites can be privately owned, although the Antiquities Department can inspect them and halt construction if valuable artefacts are discovered.

However, there are no plans to stop the construction of the Sewage Board offices due to the bath and coins findings, Flourentzos said, adding that the remains of the bath will be maintained and preserved within the building.

Source: Xinhua


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