A Recent Archaeological Survey Led To The Rediscovery Of Numerous “Lost” Tombs On A British Military Base

Vladimir Sazonov - - illustrative purposes only

During an archaeological survey carried out by a U.K.-based research team, several “lost” tombs were rediscovered on a British military base overseas.

Experts from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) had been documenting archaeological remains in the Eastern Sovereign Base Area (ESBA) at Dhekelia on the southern coast of Cyprus when they encountered the tombs.

Cyprus was once a British colony. It gained independence in 1960, but the U.K. still has control over two sovereign bases in the area, including the ESBA. The survey identified 51 archaeological sites in an area that stretched across 12 miles.

Previously, it was thought that most of those sites had been lost over time. Some of them even date back as far as the Bronze Age. At the sites, there were a total of five historic buildings—four churches and the ruins of a watchtower.

“A single tomb or wall footing might be a ‘site’ if no other evidence can be found in the vicinity and the feature is convincing,” Matt Beamish, the lead archaeologist, told Newsweek. “Similarly, a building, or a multitude of tombs in a cemetery covering a hectare or more would also constitute a site.”

The project aimed to relocate around 60 archaeological sites that were recorded in the early 1960s before the garrison within the ESBA and the Kingsfield Airstrip were developed.

According to Beamish, the only record that survived was “a label annotation on a 1:25000 map” for four of the sites. Archive records contained documentation that the rest of the sites had survived as well, although their locations were not mapped.

Before conducting the survey, archaeologists gathered every piece of information they knew about the possible sites so they knew what evidence to search for. After getting out onto the field and successfully finding a site, they would then take photographs of the area and make a note of its GPS location.

In a press release, Beamish said, “Many of the sites we were planning to survey had been last visited over 20 years ago, and in many instances had been reported as no longer existing or being unfindable.”

Vladimir Sazonov – – illustrative purposes only

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