SANCTUARY OF AYIA IRINI

AYIA IRINI

N° 8
Town / Village : Ayia Irini / Akdeniz

District : Güzelyurt

 

DESCRIPTION :

The sanctuary consists of a rustic temenos with an irregular oval plan situated in an open field near the coast on rocky groung gradually sloping towards the sea. The temenos was enclosed by a large earth wall which covered the Late Bronze Age temenos remains.

The entrance to the temenos to the temenos was in the south and its floor consisted of trodden earth and sand. A low irregularly triangular altar was erected in the north part of the temenos and a libation table for liquid offerings was situated close by. The libation table consists of a thick, almost oval-shaped limestone slab with small concavities cut in its upper side.

The site is rather secluded although to the north of the site there is evidence for a small settlement and burials, some dated to the Cypro-Geometric period.

 

Period : Late Cypriot III -  1st century BC

The temenos was built in the beginning of the Cypro-Geometric I and lasted until the middle of the Cypro-Geometric III when it underwent modifications.

The peribolos wall and the floor were raised and the filling of the initial floor covered the old altar. A new altar was erected close to where the old one once stood. This new altar was made out of a monolithic limestone pillar. This temenos functioned until the middle of the Cypro-Archaic I  period.

 The first Archaic temenos dates to the Middle Archaic I period and remained in use until the beginning of the Cypro-Archaic II.

The second Archaic temenos was in use until the middle of the Cypro-Archaic II period and then underwent repairs.

Following a horrific flood at around 500 BC., the third Archaic temenos was abandonned and reused again in the 1st century BC.

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OUTSTANDING VALUE :

The sanctuary at Agia Irini is famous for its large number of clay figurines that were found in situ positioned around the altar.

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DOCUMENTS :

These figurines, probably offerings to a god, number to approximately 2000 and only two of them depict females. Many of these figurines are exceptionally large in size and a large number seems to come from the same workshop, which seems to have applied the same technique and styles for many years. The body of a figure was shapeless, it was on the face that the craftsman concentrated, creating true portraiture for the first time. The figures wore all kinds of different clothes, from which one can get a good idea of the different nations and social classes present in the population.

Half of the figurines were transferred to the Medelhavsmuseet in Sweden while the other half are in the Cyprus Museum.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY :

Gjerstad, E. 1948 The Cypro-Geometric, Cypro-Archaic and Cypro-Classical Periods. The Swedish Cyprus Expedition, vol. IV (2). Stockholm.

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