The Archaeology of the Ancient Theatre of Nea Paphos in Cyprus: From Ancient Voices to Modern Artists
Free Public Lecture
Ian Potter Museum of Art
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This lecture will explore the fascinating links between ancient culture and contemporary art.
The University of Sydney has been excavating the site of the ancient theatre at the World Heritage-listed site of Nea Paphos in Cyprus since 1995. The theatre, constructed around 300 BC, was used as a venue for performance and spectacle until its destruction in the late 4th century AD – more than six and a half centuries later. The theatre underwent at least five phases of architectural remodelling and renovation during the Hellenistic and Roman era, each leaving its trace archaeologically.
Through careful stratigraphic excavation we can now retrace the rich history of the site, as well as its post-theatrical life with links to the Crusaders and Venetians.
The Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project has also revealed information about the urban precinct surrounding the theatre, including wide paved roads, a nymphaeum and a colonnaded façade of the second century AD – features we now know reflect the wealth and privilege of the most important Roman city on the island.
As well as acting as a training ground for Australian archaeologists and students, one of the most exciting aspects of the excavations has been the program of working with visiting Australian visual artists. These artists, including Ian Potter Museum of Art exhibiting artist Angela Brennan, have responded to ancient Cyprus and the process of archaeology in their own creative work.
Dr Craig Barker is Manager of Education and Public Programs, Sydney University Museums.