The site in Paphos, a city on the country’s southwestern coast, draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to its ancient mosaic pavements. Materials found at the site date back to Hellenistic, Roman, early Christian and Byzantine periods.
The mosaics and other relics at the site, many of which were discovered by a farmer in the 1960s, are currently under threat from a variety of factors, including exposure to the elements, overdevelopment in the city and an oversaturated tourism industry, said Jeanne Marie Teutonico, the associate director of programs of the Getty Conservation Institute. Working with Cyprus’s Department of Antiquities, the Getty will devise a strategy for preserving the mosaics through a possible combination of archaeological shelters and reburial to avoid damage from the sun, sea and air.
“If you leave them exposed without a shelter you need continued maintenance,” Ms. Teutonico said. “We’re seeing more thunderstorms, heavier rain, warmer temperatures. All of that accelerates deterioration.”
Other projects to receive Getty funding include a training program on conserving earthen architecture in Abu Dhabi and an initiative to digitally preserve two decades worth of data from an excavation site in central Turkey.
Michael McCormick chairs the Science of the Human Past, a network of Harvard researchers investigating world history with new scientific and archaeological approaches. The Getty’s program is now possible, he said, thanks to an influx of new technologies, including more sophisticated approaches to genetic testing and material science. And it seems to embrace a global understanding of the ancient civilizations, whereas previous conceptions have revolved around Greece and Rome, without connecting them to their broader context.
“There is an expanding understanding of the ancient world,” he said, “through the growing awareness that we are a species of migrants who have been on the move since our earliest days.”