By ANNE CANALP
Eastern Mediterranean University Professor Bülent Kızılduman and a team of 26 experts from Turkey, Italy, Germany and Albania found ceramics, architectural remains and stone tools and axes this year which, Prof Kızılduman said, were hugely important and proved the existence of settlements dating back six millennia.
The new museum was announced this week by Tourism and Environment Minister Fikri Ataoğlu.
Home to the elite King's Hill Bronze Age site, which was discovered by university academics in 2004 and extensively reported in Cyprus Today, the village's old schoolhouse, with additional buildings, will host the new museum.
Mr Ataoğlu said it would be an example of “protection, support and contemporary museology” adding: “Local people of all ages will learn about the richness of their culture from this new and creative museum.”
Prof Kızılduman continued with excavation work at the King's Hill and other sites despite the closure of the Eastern Mediterranean University Archaeology Department in 2008 and Greek Cypriot moves for an embargo on the salvage operation and foreign academic cooperation.
He said work had continued to identify a wealth of cultural heritage sites between the villages of Dipkarpaz, Kaleburnu and Kuruova which had to be preserved for future generations.
“These discoveries and the museum are very important for Karpaz and we are using all modern methods including geo-radar and satellite surveys.”
The head of the Eastern Mediterranean Cultural Heritage Research Centre added: “I am just one of a very qualified team and we are all extremely excited about the latest discoveries and the museum.”
Prof Kızılduman said excavations were conducted as salvage operations to save cultural heritage but had been continually opposed by South Cyprus archaeologists and authorities, seriously hampering the project’s progress.
Antiquities Department Gazimağusa head Hasan Tekel added: “No-one knew of these Neolithic settlements until this year and this is a great step forward for understanding the history of the region and to protect it through education.”
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