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On the NW coast of the island W of the village of Haghia Irini. The ruins of a small town, now covered by sand dunes, extend along the shore but also inland for a considerable distance. A small bay below the ruins may have served as a summer anchorage. The necropolis extends mainly inland to the E of the town, but also along the rocky shore, where Late Bronze Age tombs occur.

Nothing is known of the founding of this town except that it succeeded a Late Bronze Age settlement which is to be located on the same spot. The Late Bronze Age tombs recently excavated on the shore produced among others fine Early Mycenaean pottery. Two small sanctuaries have been known on the site and the foundations of a circular building are still visible. Present-day evidence indicates that the town has been in existence from archaic to Graeco-Roman times. The well-known Sanctuary of Haghia Irini lies inland near the village.

The coastal town must have been of some importance but nothing is known of its history. Its identification too presents difficulties. The Stadiasmus (310f) mentions a summer anchorage called Melabron, the distance of which is given as 50 stadia from Cape Krommyon. Since the ruins mentioned above are the most important in the area and seem to agree with this distance, it is tempting to identify these remains with Melabron, a name to be applied not only to the roadstead but also to the town itself.

The identification of these ruins with a town called in Byzantine times Kirboia (Hierokles, 7th c.), later Kerbeia or Kermia (Constantine Porphyrogennitus, 10th c.) has also been proposed, but this ought to be dismissed. Kermia is equated with Leukosia by Porphyrogennitus himself and we know that this town was in existence in his day, whereas archaeological evidence shows that the town at Haghia Irini ceased to exist after the Graeco-Roman period. Therefore Melabron has better claims for the name of this important little town.

Excavations were begun here in 1970. During this campaign a number of private houses of the Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman periods were excavated, some of them with wells, bathrooms, workshops with querns and storage jars. Part of the N town wall of the same period was also uncovered. The tombs excavated by the shore belonged to the Late Bronze Age and to the archaic and Classical periods. Of the sanctuaries nothing survives above ground, except fragments of terracotta figurines.

The finds are in the Cyprus Museum, Nicosia.


A. Sakellarios, Τὰ Κυπριακά I (1890) 138; I. K. Peristianes, A Brief Guide to the History and Ancient Monuments of Kerynia town and District (1931) 17-18; Einar Gjerstad et al., Swedish Cyprus Expedition II (1935) 642-824PI; George Hill, A History of Cyprus (1949)I 262 n. 5; V. Karageorghis, “Chronique des Fouilles et Découvertes Archéologiques à Chypre en 1961,” BCH 86 (1962) 365-71I; id., “Archaeological News from Cyprus, 1970,” AJA 76 (1972) 317; 77 (1973) 55, 428-29; V. Karageorghis et al., Studi Ciprioti e Rapporti di Scavi I (1971) 11-170.


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