The Ship Graffiti on the Medieval and post-Medieval Monuments of Cyprus: Mapping, Documentation and Digitisation
The programme is funded by the Leventis Foundation Commitee, University of Cyprus
Graffiti depicting ships are known in the Mediterranean since the third millennium BC. The archaeological record of such graffiti is rich, as they have been found on the walls of monuments of different character (caves, temples, public buildings, fortifications, churches) dating to various periods.

The existence of ship graffiti on the walls of medieval churches and secular monuments of Cyprus has attracted the attention of several (but not many) scholars, thus far. This project aims to:

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  • Collect all the available data in a data base, so that a comprehensive corpus is created
  • Digitise all the existing drawings
  • Apply new technologies on order to record in detail each graffiti, thus correcting or adding valuable information to the existing drawings
  • Preserve the maximum possible information provided by graffiti, which is a particularly vulnerable kind of evidence, exposed to the decay of the buildings but also to restoration processes; very often unrecorded graffiti go unnoticed and thus are destroyed by mistake during restoration works.
  • Publish the available information
The most important result of this project will be the creation of a corpus of the ship graffiti on the island, which will allow for their comprehensive study, as sources of information about several issues of Maritime Cyprus during, such as:
· shipbuilding technology
· ship's types and provenance
· seafaring, trade connections and maritime activities
· human behavior; graffiti have been interpreted as ex votos (by sailors or their families), signs of human interaction with the living environment, 'signatures' of travellers etc.
Moreover, this body of primary evidence will function as the basis for the further enhancement of research in maritime history and archaeology of the medieval period, which has largely escaped the attention of scholars in the Eastern Mediterranean.
International Conference
ΚΑRAVΟΙ (Κάραβοι): Methodology, Interpretation and Typology of Maritime Graffiti in the Mediterranean
15-16 October 2016

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Coordinator: Dr Stella Demetsicha
Members of Research Team
Dr Marina Solomidou- Ieronymidou, Director, Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
Dr Nikolas Bakirtzis, Assistant Professor, Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Centre, Cyprus Institute
Dr Mia Gaia Trentin, researcher, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Katerina Delouka, PhD Candidate, University of Sorbonne- Paris I – Pantheon, France
Maria Michael (MA) Archaeologist
Robertos Georghiou (MA) researcher, Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center, Cyprus Institute
Andonis Neophytou (MA) computer scientist, independent researcher