Welcome to Polis!

The modern town of Polis Chrysochous in northwestern Cyprus lies above the ancient city of Arsinoe (ca. 270 BCE to 1500s CE) and the even older city-kingdom of Marion (founded ca. 800 BCE, destroyed in 312 BCE). Excavations by a team from Princeton University from 1983 to 2007 unearthed structures ranging from the Cypro-Geometric period beginning in the 10th century BCE to the medieval period of the 16th century CE.

Fieldwork now centers on archaeological and geophysical survey, drawing on fieldwork by students in a Freshman seminar that traveled to Cyprus in the fall semesters of 2001-2013. The results of the excavations and the survey are being published in print, through public museum exhibitions, and online, particularly through 3D visualizations. This site serves as an introduction to the project and a primary portal through which scholars and the public may access this online content. It is a working site, so new content will be added over time. Additional public web content can be found on team member William Caraher's blog. Team members also collaborate on publications through an online resource.

Objects from the excavations are on permanent display in the Local Museum of Marion and Arsinoe in the town of Polis. A temporary exhibition was held in the Princeton University Art Museum from October 20, 2012 to January 20, 2013. That exhibition, City of Gold: Tomb and Temple in Ancient Cyprus, resulted in the first book-length publication about the team's excavations, City of Gold: The Archaeology of Polis Chrysochous, Cyprus.

This exhibition also led to the development of a project to model in 3D buildings from the excavations: Modeling the Past: Digital Technologies and Excavations in Polis, Cyprus. Modeling the Past is based on an interdisciplinary seminar taught in 2012 and 2014 and cross-listed among the Departments of Computer Science and Art and Archaeology and the Program in Hellenic Studies. Students explored original excavation records and created virtual reconstructions of buildings from five sites in the town of Polis. The aims of the seminar included how to understand and depict phasing and uncertainty.

In 2012 students created 3D models of four principal buildings featured in the City of Gold exhibition. A video based on those models includes two buildings from Marion and two from Arsinoe: a Cypro-Archaic period (ca. 700/650-475 BCE) sanctuary in Princeton grid Area B.D7, a Cypro-Classical period (ca. 475-312 BCE) temple in Area A.H9, a Hellenistic period (ca. 270-58 BCE) porticoed military building in Area E.G0, and a Late Antique (ca. 7th c. CE) basilica in Area E.F2.

In 2014 three interactive websites were created for buildings from the ancient city of Marion, each emphasizing a different approach to user interaction. These approaches range from moving through buildings and exploring objects in the sanctuary in Area B.D7, to building your own model of a "palace" in Area B.F8/9, to manipulating objects and watching video content for the temple in Area A.H9.

Please note: These interactive websites do not require users to download special software, but users must use WebGL-enabled browsers for the sites to work properly. Google Chrome (version 9.x and above) and Mozilla Firefox both support WebGL natively. The sites use X3DOM, an open source framework for integrating 3D content into HTML5 web pages. If you are using Safari (version 5.1 and above on OS X 10.6 above), you must enable it through the Developer menu ("Preferences" > "Advanced" > "Show the Developer menu in menu bar"). For use with Internet Explorer, you will need to download either the InstantReality plugin or Adobe Flash 11.


City of Gold Video

Modeling the Past: Reconstructing the Buildings of Marion and Arsinoe


Area B.D7: Sanctuary at Polis-Peristeries

This interactive website examines the phases of an Iron Age (10th to 5th BCE) sanctuary using models created in 2012 and 2014.


Area B.F8/9: "The Palace" at Polis-Peristeries

This interactive website examines possible reconstructions of a Cypro-Archaic (mainly 6th century BCE) "palace" using models created in 2014.


Area A.H9: Temple at Polis-Maratheri

This interactive website examines the history of a Cypro-Archaic and Cypro-Classical (6th to 4th century BCE) temple using models created in 2012 and 2014.



Team Publications

Under construction...