Nicosia – On the island of Cyprus a four thousand year old temple has been discovered. It is the oldest temple ever found on the island.
The Italian archaeologist Maria Rosario Belgiorno announced the discovery on Friday.
According to Belgiorno the temple is at least a thousand years older than any of the other temples that have been discovered in Cypres. She said that this means that there were services of worship in Cypres much earlier than had been assumed until now.
The antiquities office of Cyprus fears that Belgiorno is leaping ahead a bit too much. Maria Hadjicosti of the service said that the find is from about 2000BC but the description of the site as a temple or sacred site still needs to be verified.
Belgiorno made her discovery last year near the village of Pyrgos on the south coast of Cyprus at a site where previously a settlement dating back four millennia had been found. At that time a pharmacy, a winery and a smithy had been located. The structure that Belgiorno found measures two hundred square metres and is rectangular in shape.
The archaeologist says that there are clues that indicate that the site was a monotheistic temple, with an offering altar. Belgiorno said that the building is reminiscent of Canaan churches. According to Belgiorno the link with temples from ancient Palestine is the find of two stone gutters of six metres in length through which flowed the blood of animals that were offered during services.
The settlement was built around a olive oil raffinary and about five hundred people lived there. It is not known where they came from but they did have trade contacts with Egypte and Palestine. The village was destroyed in an earthquake in 1850BC.