CONNECTING: Research and Innovation Knowledge Centre for Engineering in Heritage

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (Research Infrastructures – Research and Innovation Foundation, €759,680).


The “Research and Innovation Knowledge Centre for Engineering in Heritage” proposal, in short CONNECTING, is built around the vision of the “Strategic Infrastructures” research call towards the creation of a knowledge centre equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and platforms, like vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drones, RGB, multi- and hyperspectral cameras, LiDAR systems, terrestrial laser scanner, soil moisture, ultrasonic, inclinometers and wireless strain sensors as well as multibeam echosounder, that can promote research excellence about the detection, monitoring, documentation and analysis of cultural heritage sites and monuments, both in land and underwater. Also, the project aims to provide evidence for using and re-using its equipment, results and products through the design and development of a dedicated cloud Data Centre. The knowledge centre’s vision is to become a reference research node for all partners and supporters, bringing together geomatics, civil engineers, ICT experts and archaeologists. This multidisciplinary approach is essential to group the necessary expertise and people to select the most appropriate methods, techniques, and tools for supporting heritage management and preservation, interpret the outcomes from state-of-the-art equipment and provide solutions for cultural heritage management and monitoring. CONNECTING thematic priority is closely linked with the Smart Specialisation Strategy of Cyprus (S3Cy). The S3Cy was designed to pave the way for future sustainable development of the country, capitalising on its unique characteristics and research ecosystem. S3Cy’s final report puts cultural heritage at the heart of the country’s future development as a horizontal pillar, where other disciplines, such as tourism – the significant economic revenue stream of Cyprus – and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can interact.

Research Coordinator: Ass. Prof. A. Agapiou  (Cyprus University of Technology).

ARGUS: Non-destructive, scalable, smart monitoring of remote cultural treasures

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (HORIZON-CL2-2023-HERITAGE-01, €3,996,147.5).


ARGUS draws on the current challenges in monitoring remote built heritage assets and the current research focus on preventive preservation, and envisions the development of: (a) a novel built heritage digital twin model to support multi-scale/modal data; (b) an advanced digitisation strategy to support the digital twin model; (c) a portable measurements system for non-descructive physical and chemical monitoring based on miniaturised sensors, and sensor composites integration, comprising of ground and aereal components; (d) AI-enabled methods for the modeling and identification (reverse engineer) of threat factors and their impact; (e) AIpowered multimodal data methods for the fusion of (i) remote sensing climate, weather and pollution data with (ii) natural disaster regional statistics, (iii) governmental statistics (ii) on-site acquired measurements; (f) Trustworthy AI decision support methods for the preventive preservation of built heritage. ARGUS’ innovation targets: (a) Researchers/academics: data from the ARGUS monitoring systems, long-term status processed data, the novel multimodal digital twin white paper, multidimensional/modal data visualisations, APIs. (b) Stakeholders/heritage managers/practitioners: real-time monitoring, long-term status analysis, predictive preser¬vation predictions, intervention decision support. (c) Authorities: real-time monitoring, long-term status analysis, predictive preservation strategies. (d) General public: real-time visualisations, crowdsourcing and citizen contribution in preventive preservation, citizens-inthe- loop R&I design with Living Labs and Hackathons.

Research Coordinator: Dr. George Pavlides  (ATHENA Research Centre).

COASTLINE: Coastal Zone Environment and Geo-Sciences

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (HORIZON-MSCA-2022-SE-01, €634,800).


Coastal zones can be characterized as biodiversity-rich ecosystems and places rich in cultural heritage. They host important economic modern activities either inland or in water, providing opportunities for the generation of renewable energies and tourism. In particular, for Europe, the coastal regions are tremendously significant for its economy, as approximately 40% of the EU’s population lives within 50 km of the sea while almost 40% of the EU’s GDP is generated in these maritime regions, and a staggering 75% of the volume of the EU’s foreign trade is conducted by sea. However, the natural dynamic landscape of the coastal zones and the complexity of interests make many local communities vulnerable to hazards, including climate change effects. These factors create a unique, constantly evolving, and challenging environment, sharing elements from deep-water investigations and dry land surveys. Therefore, novel methodologies have to develop to map and monitor these areas and adjusted for operational use to the specific conditions and socio-economic environment of each case study. The COASTLINE project aspires to promote innovative international, inter-sectoral, and interdisciplinary collaboration in research and innovation aspects dealing with monitoring coastal zone environments through geoscience and remote sensors. It aims to establish new and improved methods and protocols for documenting and analyzing the coastal zones in selected case studies (coastal zones) of Europe. It will bring together partners from the academia /research institutions with the business sector in order to share knowledge, ideas, and infrastructures for delivering novel methodologies regarding the use of remote sensors, such as satellite observations (including the Copernicus Programme with the Sentinels’ mission), ground geophysical prospections and Geographical Information Systems along with spatial statistics.

Research Coordinator: Ass. Prof. Apostolos Papakonstantinou (Cyprus University of Technology).

LC3: Lemesos City Cooling Challenge

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (NetZeroCities Pilot Cities Programme, NZC-H2020-202209,€1,500,000).


Limassol is one of the fifty-three cities from across twenty-one European Union and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries, which have been invited to embark upon unprecedented climate action, through the NetZeroCities Pilot Cities Programme managed by the Mission Platform of the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities (EU Cities Mission).

Limassol through LC– Lemesos City Cooling Challenge – pilot  project, as part of the Pilot Cities, will experiment with new ways to decarbonise throughout a two-year rapidly

Programme. Pilot Cities are setting the urban climate transition on a new trajectory. They will implement systemic and locally designed innovative actions that span multiple areas, from buildings to waste, and levers of change, including governance, finance, and policy.

Pilot Cities will experiment with new ways to rapidly decarbonise over the course of a two-year programme.   

LC– Lemesos City Cooling Challenge will provide ground for taking systemic, inclusive, and multi-lever approaches to transforming city systems. Over the two-year journey, Pilot Cities will reflect and learn as they  go, providing opportunities for other cities to follow in their footsteps, replicating and/or scaling approaches and solutions relevant to their context-this reflecting the Pilot character of the interventions

Research Coordinator: Prof. Thanasis Hadzilacos (Cyprus Institute)

ENGINEER: Civil Engineering and Geomatics Innovative Research on Heritage

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (ORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-03, €1,500,000).


ENGINEER proposal aims to enhance the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics of the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) research and innovation potentials through coordination and support actions provided by the Twinning call. Build upon its unique character, as the single University Department of the country, where civil and geomatics engineers come together, the Twinning project will fulfil and extend inter-departmental research activities in cultural heritage (CH). Smart Specialisation Strategy of Cyprus (S3CY), was designed to pave the wave for future sustainable development of the country, capitalising on its unique characteristics and research ecosystem. S3CY’s final report puts CH at the heart of the country’s future development as a horizontal pillar, whereas other disciplines such as tourism – the main economic revenue stream of the country- and ICT can interact.

The proposal visions to fill research gaps, push, and extend knowledge into new innovative fields dealing with the monitoring, digitisation, visualization and preservation of CH, assisting towards their protection, promotion and safeguarding. For this vision, CUT has aligned forces with three leading institutions of Europe, namely the Polytechnic University of Milan (POLIMI), the University College of London (UCL), and the University of Aveiro (UAVEIRO). The leading teams will work closely with the local team through targeting training research activities, mobility actions, networking and in-situ pilot applications. At the same time, the leading institutions will advance research management, administrative skills and promote industrial and knowledge transfer, thus reforming the Department’s R&I system. The participation of the Eratosthenes Centre of Excellence (ECoE) will multiply the potential impact of the project, creating strong links with partners of the quadruple helix of the smart specialization, and will support commercialization and marketed aspects.

Coordinator: Assist. Prof. A. Agapiou (Cyprus Univ. of Technology)

EUreka3D: European Union’s REKonstructed content in 3D

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (DIGITAL-2022-CULTURAL-02 (€1,749,275).


EUreka3D will prove innovative approaches to digital transformation of CH sector, based on the provision of services and tools, compliant with Europeana CSP, and powered by advanced computing and storage resources. EOSC registered services for authentication and authentication, guidelines and recommendations for high-quality 3D digitisation, representation of holistic documentation in advanced metadata information, all this will be assessed in a pilot where 4 CHIs participate with their contents. >4,000 new digital contents in 2D and 3D will be aggregated and ingested in Europeana. The proved pipeline, which goes from the initial content selection of the physical items up to the publication on the Digital Space for Cultural Heritage for its use and re-use, will be the basis of an intense training programme for improvement of digital skills in CHIs, vocational training and life-long learning for all. According to Commission Recommendations on ‘digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation’ and on ‘a common European Data Space for cultural heritage’, actions are urged to preserve via digitisation the important legacy represented by monuments, sites, museum objects and other tangible heritage, at risk because of many dramatic situations. As highlighted in H2020 ViMM Action-Plan, in DigitalDay2019 declaration on advancing digitisation in Cultural Heritage and in the recent VIGIE2020/654 Study on quality in 3D digitisation of tangible cultural heritage, best practices, interoperable infrastructures and improved skills on 3D digitisation are critical for the digital transformation of CH sector. Eureka3D will establish for the first time a proved cloud-based environment for high quality holistically enriched content, easily accessible in Europeana, to trigger the creation of virtual spaces for the multi/interdisciplinary and intersectorial community of CHIs, to connect and engage with their target audiences.

Coordinator: Dr Giuseppe La Rocca (STICHTING EGI)

HFF Cyprus Regional Development Project (CRDP)

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (Honor Frost Foundation, €16,000).


This proposal presents a framework for redressing the lack of extant data, specific marine cultural heritage expertise and of a comprehensive, integrated approach to the marine environmental and cultural resource, within the areas under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus. The project aims to enhance regional capacity, and to develop a more informed and integrated model for the protection, research, management and dissemination of MCH, to be ultimately deployed throughout the island and the wider eastern Mediterranean

Coordinator: Dr Lucy Blue (Honor Frost Foundation)

EDAFOS: Development and testing of desertification risk and pressures mapping and Assessment tool

European Space Agency Tender (€160,737)


Desertification /land degradation is one of the main problems that threaten the world’s ecosystems and social structures. The Mediterranean region including Cyprus suffers greatly from a series of pressures leading to desertification including drought and anthropogenic activity. Cyprus Authorities as in many other Mediterranean countries are aware of the problem and have taken many steps to combat desertification. Cyprus signed and followed the necessary procedures to ratify the Convention to Combat Desertification since 2000. After participating in COP5, Cyprus has set up a National Committee to Combat Desertification with all the related departments giving initial information. Despite great efforts, Cyprus has not yet prepared a National Action Plan according to the Convention due to difficulties in desertification risk assessment and linkage to natural and anthropogenic pressures.

The EDAFOS project will prepare through data collection, processing and interpretation methodology a Geographical Information System (GIS) tool for the assessment or desertification and land degradation risk. In addition, it will provide scenario analysis for the development of policies and measures to reduce risk and mitigate associated environmental and socioeconomic impacts. The EDAFOS Toolbox will support the implementation of the desertification directive and in particular it will enable the in-depth analysis of human-induced and natural pressures and will facilitate the design of measures for combating desertification and land degradation.

Coordinator: Mr. C. Panayiotou (ATLANTIS).

MIGRATE: Demography and Adaptation in the Initial Peopling of the Eastern Mediterranean Islandscape

Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, Excellence Hub, (€120,000).


The island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean occupies a critical position at the intersection of the African and Eurasian landmasses; its unique position provides archaeologists with the distinct opportunity to investigate human dispersals, island colonisation and human coastal adaptations. Despite its potential to contribute to global key phenomena of the human deephistory, the Pleistocene past of Cyprus remains under-researched. MIGRATE proposes an interdisciplinary approach, the first of its kind in an Eastern Mediterranean context, at the frontier of archaeological research globally to fast-track the study of hunter-gatherer dispersals and adaptation at a true island environment in a key insular region of the world. Combining stochastic spatial modelling, geoinformatics and archaeological field prospection on land and underwater, MIGRATE aims to generate a significant body of new data that firmly positions Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean at the forefront of archaeological sciences.

Coordinator: Dr T. Moutsiou – Prof. V. Kassianidou (Univ. of Cyprus).

INSIGHT: A unique monument at the crossroads of political transformation Investigation and documentation of the Palaepaphos-Laona tumulus.

A.G. Leventis Foundation Research Committee, €20,000 (expected).


Following the excavation of the tumulus of Salamis in the 1960s, which covered a cenotaph, two views were put forward to answer the key question of ‘by whom was it built and to whose memory’. Both, however, associate the construction of this most unusual – for Cyprus – burial monument with the period of the conflict of the Diadochi. Written sources paint a vivid picture of the confrontation between Ptolemy and Antigonos, during which, one after the other, the royal dynasties that ruled the Cypriot polities were exterminated. By 294 BC, when Ptolemy finally won the island, the institution of Cypriot basileia (kingship) had died out. Although historiographers describe these dramatic events in considerable detail, their material imprint has not been identified in the archaeological record of the late 4th and early 3rd c. BC.

A second much larger tumulus has now been identified at Palaepaphos-Laona. Ceramic analysis places its construction during the same transitional period. Although Cyprus did not possess the technical know-how required for the realisation of this type of mega-monument, a recently published geoarchaeological study confirms that Laona was an expertly designed and executed monumental earthwork.

The current application seeks funding for a state-of-the-art full digital recording and documentation of Laona as a burial tumulus ahead of site preservation and final publication. The material buried in the mound should provide information on the political entity responsible for its construction and reveal the purpose which this unique and culturally un-Cypriot monument was designed to fulfil. Combined with data from the diachronic landscape analysis and excavations conducted since 2006 by the Palaepaphos Urban Landscape Project, the results will throw critical new light on a poorly known period of major political and cultural realignment during the course of which Cyprus lost her indigenous city-states and became an island colony of the Ptolemaic kingdom.

Coordinator: Prof. M. Iacovou (Univ. of Cyprus).

GraMiC: Recapturing, documenting, digitizing and promoting the Mill Heritage of Cyprus. The grain-grinding mills: animal-driven mills, windmills, watermills.

A.G. Leventis Foundation Research Committee, (€20,000).


Research in the field of post-medieval pre-industrial technology and, particularly, the scientific study of mills are at an advanced stage internationally. In Cyprus, the mill heritage is a relatively new field of research. Within the framework of two projects (1999-2000, 2005-2008), a team of architects, archaeologists and historians of the University of Cyprus, located and recorded 350 watermills in areas throughout the island, and prepared measured drawings of 96 representative examples. This team is ready to resume and enhance the research of mills, including the almost completely unexplored animal-driven mills and windmills.

Cypriot economy was agricultural and pastoral in character and remained so down to the period of British rule. During the pre-industrial period, the mill-operating mechanisms were based on the exploitation of natural resources (animal, water and wind power), mainly for grinding grain. Grain, and therefore the mills, had a dominant position in the economy and life of a traditional society; the bread of Cyprus was considered the best in the Levant.

The proposed project aims at complementing, restructuring and interpreting the numerous collected data concerning the located watermills as well as at locating and documenting surviving windmills and animal-driven mills. Enriching field study with archival research and oral testimonies, and building on the digitization of available data, our aspiration is to provide an overview of grain-grinding mills in their environmental, historical and cultural context. This will allow the better study of various aspects of mill buildings and installations, such as milling processes, the geographical distribution of mills, their role in rural economy and life, the perceptions about the mill and the miller in folklore, and the mill as a feature of tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage. These targets will be accomplished with an interdisciplinary approach and with the aid of Digital Technologies (Digital Database, 3D documentation). Our ultimate aim is to create a basis for further research and give impetus to the preservation and restoration of mills.

Coordinators: Prof. A. Nicolaou-Konnari,  Prof. Emerita E. Rizopoulou-Egoumenidou (Univ. of Cyprus).

ENSURE: Innovative survey techniques for detection of surface and sub-surface archaeological remains

Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformatics of Cyprus University of Technology (internal funding, €40,000).


The idea is built upon innovative developments in the field of UAVs sensors (drones) and image processing cloud platforms for refinement of many datasets using sophisticated image processing techniques. Before the UAV solution, a space-based observation process is recommended for extensive projects, to prioritize areas of interest based on the archaeological evidence. The project integrates state-of-the-art technologies into a single point, a Geographical Information System (GIS) improving thus the detection and success rate of both surface and subsurface archaeological findings.

During the design of a project, parallel activities can be carried out, providing in short-time useful information to the engineers and designers. This solution will be based upon the cutting edge non-destructive remote sensing technologies.

Coordinator: Assist. Prof. A. Agapiou (Cyprus Univ. of Technology)


Mapping ancient monuments of Paralimni Municipality, Cyprus

The project concerned the mapping of all declared Ancient Monuments (Table A & B) of the Municipality of Paralimni, as well as the mapping of sites with archaeological interest. The latter were identified during a surface survey carried out by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus during 1973-74. Some of these sites have not since been declared ancient monuments. Therefore, their mapping was considered essential for their protection.

Geographical information for each monument and site has been identified and /or updated following current cadastral plans and Cyprus geodetic system. All declared ancient monuments and protected areas were georeferenced and digitized in a GIS environment. These data were delivered to the Department of Antiquities in Shapefile (.shp) digital format which can be integrated as geospatial information in the existing digitized geospatial data of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus.

The spatial distribution of archaeological sites and monuments, as well as the digital elevation model were also created and given to the Department of Antiquities.

PERISCOPE: Portal for hERItage buildingS integration into the COntemPorary built Environment

Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, Integrated Project, (€1,104,500).


In an era of rapid technological improvements, state-of-the-art methodologies and tools dedicated to the protection and promotion of our cultural heritage should be developed and extensively employed in the modern built environment and lifestyle. At the same time, sustainability principles underline the importance of the continuous use of historic or vernacular buildings as part of the building stock of our society. The adoption of a holistic integrated multi-disciplinary strategy can bridge technological innovation with the conservation and restoration of heritage buildings. The project “Portal for heritage buildings integration into the contemporary built environment” (PERIsCOPE) aims to design and develop an innovative portal comprised of reliable and efficient technology-ready tools for the identification, classification, documentation and renovation of heritage buildings which can be exploited by a variety of stakeholders related to the conservation and retrofit of heritage buildings. The portal will integrate the state-of-the-art knowledge in the scientific fields of Building Information Modelling, remote sensing, 3D terrestrial modelling techniques and non-destructive onsite testing, provided by the leading research and academic institutions of Cyprus in these fields. The portal is targeted to multiple economical actors of Cyprus, such as public authorities (specifically to the Town Planning and Housing Department, Department of Antiquities and Municipalities) and engineers, contractors and land developers. The implementation of the project will enable the application of the BIM-enabled holistic integrated methodology on heritage buildings, with reference to their location in the contemporary fabric of the city as well as their current structural condition.

Coordinator: Assist. Prof. G. Artopoulos (Cyprus Institute)

NAVIGATOR: Copernicus Earth Observation Big Data for Cultural Heritage

Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, Excellence Hub, (€250,000).


NAVIGATOR proposal aims to establish a local and regional excellence Hub oriented to the exploitation of Earth Observation datasets for the needs of Cultural Heritage (CH), through the

European Copernicus space program. The Hub will be established at the Hosting Organization (Cyprus University of Technology, CUT) with the involvement of one of the leading Scientific and Commercial Research Centers in Europe, the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Copernicus is the European program for observing and monitoring the Earth. Copernicus consists of a complex set of systems which collect data from multiple sources, namely earth observation satellites (such as the Sentinels) and ground sensors (such as ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors). It processes these data and provides users with reliable and up-to-date information through a set of services related to environmental and security issues. Based on the Copernicus services and on the data collected through the Sentinels and the contributing missions, many value-added services can be tailored to specific public or commercial needs, resulting in new business opportunities. In fact, several economic studies have already demonstrated a huge potential for job creation, innovation and growth . Through the NAVIGATOR project it is expected that the scientific excellence and innovation capacity of the Host Organization will be improved and strengthen. This will allow to the Section to expand its capabilities, specialised in the field of Earth Observation for Cultural Heritage applications, in new emerging thematic areas of space applications through the Copernicus Space Programme with the support of DLR. The concept of the NAVIGATOR project is based on priorities set by the Smart Specializaion Strategy of Cyprus (S3Cy), mainly targeting to create a critical mass of young researchers experienced in space technologies for the protection of Cultural Heritage environment.

Coordinator: Prof. D. Hadjimitsis (Cyprus Univ. of Technology)

PLACES: Synergistic Use of Optical and Radar data for cultural heritage applications

Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, Excellence Hub, Cultural Award (€60,000).


The project “Synergistic Use of Optical and Radar data for cultural heritage applications”, in short PLACES, aims to support the Young Researcher to further investigate the potentials of earth observation and space technologies for cultural heritage. Despite the availability of sensors providing a range of different spatial and spectral characteristics, research is sometimes restricted by the mismatch observed between the individual sensors’ characteristics related to their spatial, spectral, radiometric and temporal resolution. Since each sensor operates on a specific wavelength range and is sensitive to specific environmental conditions, the acquisition of all the required information is not feasible to be acquired by a single sensor. It is essential therefore capitalize on the capacity of existing sensors and understand potential synergies between them, expanding thus the scope of space-based Earth system science in order to meet the needs of a particular domain area such as cultural heritage.

The various activities planned in the project, follow the general trend in the field towards the fusion and synergistic use of hererogenous satellite datasets (i.e. optical and radar images), especially satellite datasets which have nowadays become open and freely distributed, such as those from the European Space Agency (ESA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The activities of the project include multi-temporal analysis of satellite images, image processing and fusion of remote sensed datasets.

Coordinator: Assist. Prof. A. Agapiou (Cyprus Univ. of Technology)

Graz Amargeti Survey Project


The survey project aims at the systematic and interdisciplinary investigation of the archaeological landscape and remains of Amargeti, as well as the preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage for the benefit of the people of Amargeti and society in general. The archaeological aims shall be achieved by documenting surface finds, detecting, and analysing subsurface structures by geophysical methods and remote sensing.

The Earth Observation Cultural Heritage Lab team participates in the general analysis of the cultural landscape using satellite, middle range, and terrestrial remote sensing techniques. During the 2019 campaign a satellite remote sensing analysis was implemented over the surveyed area, while in 2022 an aerial campaign was carried out.

Coordinator: Dr. Gabriele Koiner (Institute of Archaeology, University of Graz)

KASP: The Kotroni Archaeological Survey Project at Kapandriti, Greece 


KASP is an international, interdisciplinary project that combines expertise across the Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences (Earth and Environmental Sciences, Archaeology, Classics, History, Anthropology, Architectural Preservation). It utilizes a combination of historical research, architectural study, digital applications, and conventional and innovative field techniques (collection of surface artifacts, Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, photogrammetry, geophysics, geological and geomorphological analysis), in order to evaluate the complex, multi-temporal cultural landscape at hand. KASP also seeks to highlight the relationship between the past, contemporary communities and academic practice in the framework of public archaeology by engaging communities at all scales (local, national and global/international). The project operates under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture (Ephorate of Antiquities of East Attica) and the Irish Institute for Hellenic Studies at Athens (IIHSA), with the participation of the University of Virginia and several other US and European academic institutions.

Coordinator: Assist. Prof. A.  Dakouri-Hild (Univ. of Virginia)

UnSaLa-CY: Unlocking the Sacred Landscapes of Cyprus

Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, Integrated Project, Excellence Hubs (€200,000).


In a contemporary world in which religious confrontations threaten social and economic stability, UnSaLa-CY will explore and showcase how ancient polytheistic systems supported cultural pluralism, tolerance and the successful coexistence of diverse beliefs. Using the complex, multi-cultural history of the island of Cyprus as a case study and a range of innovative techniques, UnSaLa-CY will contextualise sacred space from prehistory to Late Antiquity. The proposed project aims to: (a) study the development of ritual and sacred space in Cyprus in relation to its wider Mediterranean political and socio-economic setting; (b) trace the evolution of ritual architecture and material assemblages on the island over some eight thousand years; (c) identify and analyse ritual practice and cult; (d) build a framework for the holistic study of ritual and sacred space that can be applied to other contexts, and (e) develop novel cultural heritage management tools for promoting and experiencing ritual space.
The Project will employ an interdisciplinary approach to the study of topography, architecture, iconography and material culture and utilise advanced technologies derived from the fields of computer science and the natural and social sciences. Building on a range of both published and newly generated archaeological data manipulated through GIS (Geographic Information Systems), the Research Team (henceforth RT) will perform an in-depth diachronic analysis of ritual and cult through different phases of Cypriot history. Ethnographic and anthropological approaches will provide an innovative anthropocentric interpretation of the collected data, while the development of advanced cultural heritage management tools will create new ways to promote past ritual landscapes and improve contemporary experiences of them, serving to bridge the gap between past and present and between scholarly and non-scholarly audiences in a pan-Mediterranean and European context.

Coordinators: Ass. Prof. A. Vionis, Assist. Prof. G. Papantoniou (Univ. of Cyprus)

PLEICY: Water Routes to Human Island Dispersals: Modelling the Pleistocene Exploitation of Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean

Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, Excellence Hub, (€120,000).


The potential of the Mediterranean islands in elucidating early human dispersals has remained largely unexplored predominantly due to a research focus on the rich Bronze Age and classical past of the Mediterranean Sea. The prevailing assumption of the sea as a barrier to human movement and of islands as “hostile” environments to early humans is also responsible for the lack of field projects investigating the Pleistocene past of this otherwise very promising region. Clear evidence for the successful early exploitation of insular environments in other parts of the world (e.g. Australia) as far back as 60,000 years ago, however, highlights the need to revisit these questions in the Mediterranean and test their validity in the light of new technologies, field methodologies and data.

Cyprus is ideal in this respect, as it is one of the largest islands of the Mediterranean with a wealth of natural resources, such as raw materials and sustainable resources, and located at the crossroads between West and East. Despite all this, however, the current archaeological record shows that humans did not reach the island until very late in human history, at approximately 12,000 years ago. If early humans successfully reached neighboring Crete as early as 130,000 years ago and modern humans colonized as far south as Australia by 60,000 years ago, why did they fail to colonise Cyprus? Is the absence of Pleistocene hunter-gatherer sites on Cyprus the result of the lack of archaeological survey efforts, poor preservation of finds or from the island actually not being used by early humans?

PLEICY aims at addressing this issue by using predictive modeling and a programme of field survey and excavation to detect the potential early routes and prime exploitation locales in the context of the earliest human visitations to the island. Predictive modeling, remote sensing, geological, morphological, tectonic, hydrogeological and palaeoclimatic data and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) will be used to reconstruct the Pleistocene landscape of Cyprus in order to determine the potential for an early human presence on the island. State-of-the-art technological applications will address an important issue in current archaeological research, namely island colonization by early humans. Using available information on present freshwater sources (springs, rivers, lakes, wells), the location and extent of Pleistocene freshwater sources on the island will be identified and then the most promising locales will be investigated by a programme of field survey and excavation in order to test the validity of the model and determine the timing, locale and features of the earliest human presence on the easternmost island of the Mediterranean Sea. A combination of other terrain attributes – such as geology, coastlines and raw material resources – will be taken into account but emphasis is placed on determining the freshwater networks that would have existed on the island during the Pleistocene enabling humans to successfully manage the new environment.
The application of such state-of-the-art technologies, however, is not the end goal of the PLEICY project. They are instead proposed as a systematic and replicable means of addressing one of the most exciting phenomena in human history: island colonisation. The movement of early humans into insular environments is very much at the forefront of archaeological and research worldwide and pertains to the broader subject of human dispersals. PLEICY constitutes the first explicit study of the Pleistocene past of Cyprus and as such the project is expected to significantly enhance our current knowledge on one of the most exciting new topics in archaeological research worldwide, namely island colonisation, especially in a part of the world where this phenomenon remains largely unexplored.
Coordinators: Dr T. Moutsiou – Prof. V. Kassianidou (Univ. of Cyprus).

ReSeArch: Remote Sensing techniques for Archaeology

H2020 MSCA-RISE (€989,000)


Europe has rich and diverse cultural heritage resources, which include urban and rural landscapes, comprising standing monuments and archaeological deposits. Nowadays Europe’s Cultural Heritage (CH) is at risk, endangered by environmental processes and anthropogenic pressures, that, together with intense human activities and climate change, can amplify the natural deterioration of materials and reduce the ability of soil to preserve CH.

The project RESEARCH (REmote SEnsing techniques for ARCHaeology) will test new risk assessment methodology, by examining soil erosion, land movement and land use change threatening archaeological sites. The project uses an integrated system of documentation and research in the fields of archaeology and environmental studies, combining advanced remote sensing technologies with GIS application for the mapping and the long-term monitoring of archaeological heritage.

The project addresses the design and development of a multi-task thematic platform, that will be a new affordable tool for authorities in charge to CH preservation, to monitor the degradation process, to enable preventive maintenance and to reduce restoration costs.

RESEARCH receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie (H2020-MSCA-RISE), grant agreement No 823987. The consortium includes organizations from the academic and non-academic sectors (in particular SMEs), based in Europe (EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries).

Thanks to RISE Initiative, the project conducts international as well as intersectoral mobility of personnel, based on secondments of research and innovation staff (exchanges) with an in-built return mechanism.

Coordinator: Prof. S. De Angeli (Tuscia University).

MEANING: From the Metalliferous Sources to the Citadel Complex of Ancient Paphos: Archaeo-environmental Analysis of the Mining and the Built Environment

A.G. Leventis Foundation Research Committee (€25,000).


Fieldwork carried out in the context of the Palaepaphos Urban Landscape Project (PULP) since 2006 led to the discovery of previously unrecorded urban monuments. A purpose-built complex designed to serve storage needs and industrial activities was revealed on the plateau of Hadjiabdoulla, one km to the east of the sanctuary of Aphrodite; 70m north of the plateau, which is now confidently viewed as the citadel of the royal dynasties of Paphos in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the hillock of Laona was identified as a man-made mound that had been raised over an early 5th-century BC rampart. The well-preserved status of the new monuments offered an unprecedented opportunity to approach the political economy of the city-state of Paphos in the Cypro-Classical period. “From the metalliferous sources to the citadel complex of Ancient Paphos: archaeo-environmental analysis of the mining and the built environment”) was the answer to the urgent need of PULP to develop a state-of-the-art, archaeo-environmental component. It initiated the macroscopic and microscopic study of a wide range of primary data from the built environment and enabled comparison and integration with data extracted from the macro-scale analysis of the catchment of Paphos, especially in relation to the study of copper slag located within the metalliferous foothills of the Paphos Forest. Preliminary results reveal resource exploitation strategies in relation to raw materials from the hinterland (e.g., timber and copper)and the coast (e.g., purple shells), and suggest that olive orchards but also palm trees existed in the landscape. The provenance of imported amphorae provides a link to the polity’s participation in Mediterranean commercial networks. Besides meeting its initial goals, MEANING established a field school and training ground for environmental archaeology and palaeoeconomy. At its completion, the project had endowed PULP with the expertise of a group of scientists, who will continue to provide specialized service to the Built Environment, the Storage Amphorae and the Mining Environment teams set up under MEANING.

Coordinator: Prof. M. Iacovou (Univ. of Cyprus)

Skouriotissa: Interdisciplinary Study of the Archaeology and Environment of Cyprus’ Last Operating Copper Mine

A.G. Leventis Foundation Research Committee (€25,000).


The scope of this project funded by the A.G. Leventis Research Programs of the University of Cyprus was to record the history, archaeology and ancient environment of the mine of Skouriotissa, and thus preserve this important aspect of Cypriot cultural heritage that has been severely damaged by one hundred years of modern exploitation. The mine of Skouriotissa, together with those of Mavrovouni and Apliki, are part of the mining region of Solea, which is located in the north-western foothills of the Troodos mountains. The mine of Apliki is, according to Lead Isotope Analysis, most probably the mine that generated the copper used to produce the vast majority of copper oxhide ingots found in Cyprus and abroad during the Late Bronze Age (16th – 12th century BC). In the Iron Age (from the 11th century onwards), the most enigmatic period of copper production on the island of Cyprus, the mines belonged to the kingdom of Soloi, one of the most prosperous on the island. In the Roman and Late Roman/Early Byzantine periods, mining and smelting at Skouriotissa reached an unprecedented scale. Slag, the waste from the smelting furnaces, accumulated in large heaps. They formed an impressive landmark, which eventually gave the name to the Monastery of Panagia Skouriotissa and then the whole area around it.

The Late Roman slag heaps of Skouriotissa were systematically recorded by the author, in collaboration with colleagues from other academic institutions within the framework of two interdisciplinary projects, namely, the “Troodos Archaeological and Environmental Survey Project” and “CAMP: The Cyprus Archaeomagnetic Project: high resolution dating, magnetic characterization and archaeointensity correlation of major slag deposits in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean”. But neither of these projects investigated the ancient mining remains at Skouriotissa. It is the first time that a project will actually focus on the mine rather than the slag heaps. It is also the first time that an effort has been made to systematically collect information on the archaeology and history of the mine from the State Archives, as well as from the archives of the mining company and people who worked there.

Coordinator: Prof. V. Kassianidou (Univ. of Cyprus)

Enkomi: A Site at the Forefront of Technological Innovation in Metallurgy and Artistic Excellence in Metalwork

Internal UCY funded project, (€25,000).


Although the importance of the LBA metal industry in Cyprus is acknowledged by modern scholarship, there is at the same time a lack of knowledge and factual information regarding its mechanisms, structure, organisation and impact on people. The intensification of copper production on the island, and the resulting exposure of Cypriots to the foreign cultures importing Cypriot copper, transformed not only the metal industry of the island, but the Cypriot society per se. This project is a novel, fresh attempt to approach LBA metallurgy and metalwork in Cyprus, focusing on archaeometallurgical material and metal artefacts from one of the most important, if not the most important, site dating to this period, that is Enkomi. This was a cosmopolitan urban settlement located at the east coast of the island, facing the Syropalestinian coast, that was perhaps the main port of export of Cypriot copper. The site covers an extensive chronological span, from the initial stages of the LBA until its end, enabling the diachronic study of Cypriot LBA metallurgy and the recording of possible changes in metalworking technologies. In addition to many finds associated with metallurgy, such as metallurgical installations, slag, tools, crucibles, moulds, etc, Enkomi has delivered a large number of bronze artefacts, larger than any other site of the island, that are of an exceptional quantity and of original types, and often denote a technological excellence that cannot be paralleled elsewhere, not only on the island itself, but in the ancient Mediterranean in general. The typology of the metal artefacts, their sources of inspiration and their technological achievement will be discussed in detail, as well as the patterns of distribution of specific types within and beyond the island. In addition, the patterns of deposition of these artefacts in various contexts, and issues regarding their function in secular, ritual or sacred occasions, such as mortuary display or cult rituals, will be further evaluated. This isthe first time that the metallurgical and metalworking assemblages from this site will be extensively studied in detail, using a combination of interdisciplinary methods of analysis for the compositional and technological characterisation of the artefacts, such as petrography, Scanning Electron Microscopy, and physico-chemical characterisation.

Coordinator: Prof. G. Papasavvas (Univ. of Cyprus)

MedSTACH: Eastern Mediterranean Science and Technology Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

H2020 Teaming (€ 400,000).


Project MedSTACH aims to establish Cyprus as an excellence hub in archaeology and cultural heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean region, capitalising on multidisciplinary research and technological innovation. To this end, key Cypriot public academic institutions and national policy makers and stakeholders are teaming up with leading international research and academic institutions to lay the groundwork towards creating the Eastern Mediterranean Science and Technology Centre for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (acronym MedSTACH).

The mission of MedSTACH is the development of the necessary scientific and technological environment for the advancement of the state-of-the-art in archaeology and cultural heritage research in Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and beyond; this will be accomplished by strengthening regional well-springs of scientific and technological expertise, capacity for innovation, and synergies among related Science, Engineering and Technology disciplines. The Centre’s mission is fully aligned with the Smart Specialisation Strategy for Cyprus, as it responds to the need for the study, protection, promotion and ultimately valorisation of Cyprus’s unique archaeological wealth, as well as the promotion of alternative forms of thematic (cultural heritage) tourism. MedSTACH, a first-ever established alliance of this scale in Cyprus for archaeology and cultural heritage, is expected to dynamically promote excellence in relevant research fields and to enhance Cyprus’s role as a pole of attraction for scientists and researchers from the Eastern Mediterranean region and the rest of the world, while promoting in a sustainable way smart specialisation and new job creation.

The MedSTACH consortium is coordinated by the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics of the Cyprus University of Technology (lead partner), and includes as partners the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus, the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus — the national stakeholder and policy maker responsible for cultural heritage management on the island, and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation — the national stakeholder an policy maker responsible for the promotion of Cyprus’s touristic product. The consortium also includes the Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo-environment of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies of the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), and the Institute of Archaeology of the University College London (UCL), both of which convey the experience and expertise of leading international research and academic institutions.

The MedSTACH proposal was ranked 1st (attaining full marks 15/15, “Excellent”) on a pan-European scale, among 208 proposals submitted to Programme “Teaming for Excellence” Phase 1, part of European Union’s (EU) Horizon 2020 framework for Research and Innovation. Programme “Teaming for Excellence” (Teaming) aims at connecting, via the creation of new or the major upgrade of existing Centers of Excellence, renowned research institutions from countries with a strong tradition in Research and Innovation with institutions from countries with developing research activity, so that the latter countries become more competitive in securing research funds. The MedSTACH proposal was awarded 0.4 million euros for a period of one year (Phase 1 of the Programme) in order to develop a business plan for the MedSTACH Centre of Excellence. That business plan will be submitted for evaluation to the EU during Phase 2 of the Teaming Programme, seeking funding up to 15 million euros for a period of 5-7 years, with the possibility of an additional equal amount of national co-funding for a period of 15 years.

Coordinator: Prof. P. Kyriakidis (Cyprus Univ. of Technology)

ATHENA: Remote Sensing Science Center for Cultural Heritage

H2020 Twinning (€972,841.25).


The “ATHENA” proposal aims to establish a Center of Excellence in the field of Remote Sensing for Cultural Heritage in the areas of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage through the development of an enhanced knowledge base and innovative methods. This center will be established by twinning the existing Remote Sensing and Geo-environment Research Laboratory at the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) with internationally-leading counterparts from other Member States of the EU, such as the Institute of Archaeological and Architectural Heritage of the National Research Council of Italy (IBAM- CNR) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The goals of the Center will be aligned with the Smart Specialization Strategy of Cyprus. The close collaboration between CUT and other experts in the field of Remote Sensing for Cultural Heritage in the EU will form a synergic network that will permit the transfer of knowledge and training of the existing personnel of CUT. As a result, the ATHENA project will have both direct and indirect social, scientific, and economic outcomes. In addition, the implementation of the project will facilitate future collaborations with experts of the Archaeology and Cultural Heritage sector in an EU level, increase the Centers’ research capabilities, as well as enhance the research and academic profile of all participants. It is noteworthy to underline the importance of the geographical position of the Center in the region of eastern Mediterranean, a region inhabited thousands of years before and therefore abound in archaeological residues.

In periods of economic instability, national considerations are overruling the process of European integration. Cultural Heritage (CH) is an integral element of a European set of values and respect for heritage is vital for developing a common European identity. CH sector has always been facing a number of challenges that have increased with the financial crisis that has hit Europe. To name a few, these challenges include the decrease of public budgets, urbanisation, globalisation and technological changes. Within this context, CH professionals are seeking to improve currently used methodologies, in order to better understand, protect and valorise the common European past and common identity.

“ATHENA” will seek to improve and expand the capabilities of collaboration between lowperforming and leading institutions, involving professionals dealing with remote sensing technologies for supporting CH sector. The “ATHENA” project is built around EU policies and international conventions related to Cultural Heritage protection, management and best practice (e.g. Europa Nostra policy documents; COM (2014) 477; UNESCO and EU conventions and multilateral treaties related to the protection of tangible Cultural Heritage).

Coordinator: Prof. D. Hadjimitsis (Cyprus Univ. of Technology)

CLIMA: Cultural Landscape risk Identification, Management and Assessment 

Heritage Plus Joint Call JPI-CH (€774,944).


Europe has rich and diverse cultural heritage resources, including landscapes and landscape elements and comprising standing monuments, buried archaeological sites, artefacts and ecofacts. This cultural heritage, often characterized and enhanced by the presence of exposed and buried archaeological remains, is nowadays at risk, endangered by environmental processes and anthropogenic pressures. These pressures pose a range of immediate and future threats to these sensitive cultural landscapes. In light of these critical issues, monitoring soil processes and soil use changes produced by climate changes and agricultural activities and, at the same time, monitoring structures stability can therefore help to prevent damages to buried and exposed archaeological heritage. In this regard, the CLIMA project aims at promoting highly interdisciplinary soil-oriented research to develop an effective tool for the authorities in charge of landscape preservation. In compliance with the research topic 1 of the JPI-CH+ call, CLIMA addresses the design and development of a multi-task platform, combining advanced remote sensing technologies, both from satellite and ground-based, with GIS application for mapping and long term monitoring of archeological cultural landscapes in order to identify changes due to climate changes and anthropic pressures. The project also targets the development and test of an innovative ground-based gamma spectrometer to measure soil vertical/lateral disturbance. The effectiveness of the CLIMA platform will be demonstrated with extended field campaigns targeting different case studies in Europe. The main aim of the project, in compliance with the scopes of the JPI-CH+ Program, is to lead to significant advances in our understanding of archaeological cultural landscapes across the broader research community, the public authorities and in society. In particular, the CLIMA Platform, as major outcome of the project, will enable the authorities responsible for the preservation of the archeological cultural landscape to carry out an effective planning and implementation policy of preventive maintenance.

Coordinator: Prof. S. De Angeli (Tuscia Univ.)