The island lies 280 meters off the harbor at Agios Georgios-tis-Peyia on the western coast of Cyprus, approximately 17 kilometers north of the city of Paphos, which served as the capital of Cyprus during the Hellenistic period (323-30 B.C.). Its commanding cliffs rise some 21 meters up from the sea; severe erosion has left its flanks dangerously steep and exposed. In 1981, the spectacular setting attracted developers wishing to build a casino resort on the island, to be connected to the mainland by a causeway. Under the direction of Dr. Sophocles Hadjisavvas, the Cypriot Department of Antiquities conducted trial excavations on Yeronisos in 1982, establishing the presence of extensive archaeological remains which led to the expropriation of the island as important resource for the cultural heritage of Cyprus.

The special environmental character of Yeronisos demands a new approach in archaeological method, that is, the recording of all floral and faunal life prior to excavation and the preservation of the ecological balance during the course of field work. Extensive development of the southern coast of Cyprus since 1974 has left the west coast the last unspoiled frontier, from the Akamas Peninsula at the north to the area just below Agios Georgios to the south. Situated along this coastline, Yeronisos is in the very center of wildlife activity, in close proximity to Lara Beach where the sea turtles return each June to lay their eggs. The uninhabited islet of Yeronisos serves as one of the last nesting sites for migratory birds, including herring gulls, rock doves, jackdaws and swifts.

We believe that Yeronisos can serve as a laboratory for developing new approaches and new goals for the role to be played by archaeology in the 21st century. Once targeted as the site for a casino resort hotel, saved for its archaeological remains, and explored with sensitivity to its unique ecological character, Yeronisos provides a sort of microcosm for problems of development and preservation faced on a global scale. The manageable size of the island and scope of the proposed investigation make this inter-
disciplinary work feasible before the turn of the millennium. The role of archaeology not as an end but as a tool for the preservation of our cultural resources, working hand in hand with ecological research, may give new direction for conservation of our global heritage in a rapidly developing world.

We face daunting challenges for our future work including an ambitious plan for in-situ conservation, utilizing geo-textiles and geo-drains for the diversion of winter rain falls away from ancient foundations and off the cliff face. When our work is completed, our long range plan for site conservation and management will be implemented; selected trenches will be un-backfilled to expose major buildings, and an archaeological/ecological field station and educational center will be established.



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