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
138; I. K. Peristianes, A Brief Guide to the History and
Ancient Monuments of Kerynia town and District
17-18; Einar Gjerstad et al., Swedish Cyprus Expedition
II (1935) 642-824PI
; George Hill, A History of Cyprus
262 n. 5; V. Karageorghis, “Chronique des Fouilles et Découvertes Archéologiques à Chypre en 1961,”
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
I (1971) 11-170.