Archaeology Odyssey 5:6, November/December 2002

Cypriot Land Mines

Military, political and archaeological

By Hershel Shanks

We couldn’t get to the fifth-century B.C. tomb at Pyla, said to be one of the finest of the period, because minefields were being cleared that day and the road was closed. Pyla, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lies near the border between the Republic of Cyprus in the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which occupies the northern third of the island. According to Giorgos Georgiou, the archaeologist from the Cyprus Department of Antiquities who had been assigned to us that day, the decision to clear the minefield was a result of a recent rapprochement between the two sides.

But we hit a different kind of mine, a diplomatic one, which blew up in our face.

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