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by Archaeology Newsroom

A new syllabic inscription from Cyprus

On the island of Cyprus, not far from the village Deneia lies an extensive ancient cemetery, which has been used since the Bronze Age. The cemetery, known to the inhabitants of the adjacent villages, has been looted by illegal excavations. As a result the landscape, being full of trenches, looks as if it has been bombed. The illegal excavators, having collected whatever seems important or valuable to them, break or leave behind all the rest of the finds.

An inscribed phiale comes from this cemetery. The illegal excavator did not appreciate its value, but he found it useful as a watering-jar for the poultry in his back yard. There it was noticed by a collector of ancient objects, who bought it and delivered it to us to read its inscription. The phiale had been made of red clay including fine grains of sand and has a red coating. The lips slant outwards and the base is wide and circular . The phiale, which can be probably dated to the fourth century BC, bears a syllabic inscription, incised with a sharp instrument before firing.