A Swedish Expedition in Cyprus Discovers Over 500 New Artifacts

Anna Garrison - Author

Jul. 7 2023, Published 1:32 p.m. ET

The Tombs of the Kings in Cyprus
Source: Getty Images

Over the years, exciting archeological discoveries have become prominent news headlines, leading to television shows such as Expedition Unknown. There is so much in the world yet to discover. Still, unfortunately, sometimes people would rather sell artifacts (or even dinosaur bones) for profit rather than appreciate them as cultural relics.

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In July 2023, an archaeological expedition from the University of Gothenburg uncovered more than 500 new artifacts in Cyprus. Previously, the U.S. also made efforts to repatriate cultural artifacts seized or turned over by individuals to the country.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about these exciting discoveries and what archeologists are learning about Bronze Age cultures.

The Tombs of the Kings necropolis in Paphos, aCyprus.
Source: Getty Images

The Tombs of the Kings necropolis in Paphos, aCyprus.

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In July 2023, a Swedish archeological expedition found over 500 new artifacts in Cyprus.

On July 6, 2023, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden released a statement announcing it had discovered over 500 artifacts from newly excavated tombs outside the Bronze Age trading metropolis Hala Sultan Tekke. According to the statement, the discovery of copper pieces within the tombs indicated that the interred ruled the city when it was most active, from 1500-1300 B.C.E.

Peter Fischer, professor of archaeology and leader of the expedition, explained, "Considering the richness of the grave goods, it is a reasonable assumption that these were royal tombs, even though we do not know much about the form of government practiced in the city at the time. Undoubtedly those buried here were part in the city’s government."

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The Söderberg expedition has been excavating in Hala Sultan Tekke on the south coast of Cyprus since 2010 and previously found chamber tombs with grave goods. What makes the 2023 discovery so exciting is the number of artifacts and their "superb quality."

Around half of the artifacts were from other cultures; gold and ivory from Egypt and precious stones from Afghanistan, India, and Sinai. Amber objects from the Baltic region were also found.

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Several well-preserved skeletons were found in the tomb, including a woman with her 1-year-old child. Several of the individuals were dressed in diadems likely crafted in Egypt. In addition to gems and jewelry, many ceramic vessels and bronze weapons were also found inside the tomb.

Several photographs of the relics were included in the University of Gothenburg's official statement.

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In May 2023, the U.S. returned 80 artifacts to Cyprus.

On May 2, 2023, the Associated Press announced that the U.S. had returned at least 80 ancient artifacts to Cyprus, as confirmed by the country's Department of Antiquities. The artifacts include clay and glass vessels, limestone sculptures, and an 18th-century painting. Many artifacts date back to 2,000 B.C., with others originating from the 7th century B.C.

The artifacts were all repatriated by April 26, and are currently on display in a museum in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia. Officials from the U.S. were involved in the seizure and return of the artifacts, sometimes from individuals who relinquished them of their own accord.

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