The Department of Antiquities was established in 1935, the same year that the new Antiquities Law was enforced replacing the Law of 1905. It is part of the Ministry of Communications and Works and is housed in the Cyprus Museum. The Department of Antiquities is responsible for the management of the archaeological heritage of Cyprus. Its main areas of activity and responsibility are the systematic and rescue excavations as well as archaeological surveys, the establishment, management and operation of archaeological museums and the conservation, restoration, protection and promotion of Ancient Monuments of the First and Second Schedule, ranging chronologically from the Neolithic period to the 20th century –as defined by the Antiquities Law-, of archaeological sites and of monuments of architectural heritage.

One of the aims of the Department of Antiquities is also the use of both ancient monuments and archaeological museums for educational purposes and cultural activities, as well as for the stimulation of cultural tourism. In order to achieve the above, the Department of Antiquities organizes alone or in cooperation with important international institutions conferences, exhibitions and lectures both in Cyprus and abroad.

Since the Turkish occupation in 1974 there has been a continuous damage and devastation of the island’s antiquities. Important archaeological sites in the occupied part remain unprotected and many churches are looted, their mosaics and frescoes destroyed or removed and sold abroad. Stolen and illicitly exported antiquities from the occupied parts of the island continue to be traced on the illegal market. The Department, in collaboration with the Government, the Church Authorities and the House of Representatives, never fails to appeal to all relevant international organizations to safeguard the island’s cultural heritage, which is in peril.

An activity, which has emerged over the last few years, is the contribution of the Department of Antiquities towards the establishment of private/thematic museums. In this case the Department acts as a consultant and as a guide by offering its personnel's specialized knowledge.

The Cyprus Department of Antiquities also collaborates closely with UNESCO, ICCROM, the Council of Europe, ICOM and ICOMOS and reported to these authorities the continued destruction of the cultural heritage of Cyprus in the occupied areas of the island. Moreover, the Department is partaking in the general effort initiated by the European Union for the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean region, as it is actively involved in a number of European projects.

The activities of the Department of Antiquities are published in its two annual publications, namely the Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus (RDAC) and the Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus (ARDAC). The Department also publishes monographs on the subject of Cypriot archaeology and history.

Address: P.O. Box 22024, Museum street 1, 1516 Lefkosia, CYPRUS
Tel.: +357 22865800
Fax: +357 22303148