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Archaeologist Finds More to Pothole Than Meets the Eye

Date: July 5, 2001
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos: By Maureen France (c)
Archive: Research News

An archaeological project led by University of Cincinnati classics professor Gisela Walberg has found that potholes aren't always bad news...they can yield surprises if you look deep enough into them.

Workers climb out of tomb

Walberg heads a team that is working in Bamboula, a Bronze Age city on the island of Cyprus that was an important trading center for the Middle East, Egypt and Greece from the 13th through 11th century B.C.

What appeared to be a pothole in the road turned out to be a Roman tomb, once the archaeologists checked it out more closely. Unfortunately, Walberg reports that "enterprising" looters got to the tomb before her team did. No one will ever know what historical treasures and knowledge the thieves may have taken.

Walberg and sconcelike item

That's not to say the team hasn't enjoyed success elsewhere at the site. One example is a Late Bronze Age sconce-like lampholder that Professor Walberg, UC's Marion C. Rawson Chair, is holding in the photo above.


A well the team excavated also contained "a great number of exciting finds which reflect the history of the site of Bamboula, including Mycenaean pottery," said Walberg. Other finds from the well include Late Cypriot pottery (Late Bronze Age), bronze objects, two vases and a large hook-shaped object.

Adds Walberg, "We recently found another tomb with unworked ivory, an ivory plaque and pottery from the Late Bronze Age."

In addition to Walberg, the team also includes photographer Maureen France of UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, Elias Markou, the excavation architect, and Eleni Ioannidou and Maria Dikomitou, both of University of Cyprus. Maria Iacovou, a UC alumna who now serves as a professor at the University of Cyprus visited the site and helped to select students to assist this summer.

Eleni Ioannidou

The Bronze Age well can also be seen in the photo above, with Eleni Ioannidou, a recent graduate of the University of Cyprus who serves as a trenchmaster on Walberg's team.

The research project began June 18, and excavations will continue until July 15. Walberg also plans to return again next summer for further excavation.

See previous story about Bamboula project.

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