Screenshot 2022-04-28 10.58.09 AM.png
Screenshot 2022-07-07 6.41.31 AM.png

MSU Denver Breaking Ground in Cyprus

MSU Digs “Opportunity”

Dr. Brandon Olson and Dr. Justin Stephens

MSU Denver Department of History

MSU Digs “Opportunity” is a fundraising campaign for MSU Denver students. The goal is to fully fund 10 MSU Denver students in order to participate in ongoing excavations at Vigla under the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project (PKAP). Vigla is located on the Dhekelia military base approximately, a sovereign base of England, 10 miles outside of Larnaca, Cyprus. We anticipate a 3 week excavation period between May 20th-June 15th in 2019. Future excavations and study seasons will to continue through 2024. The project will be supervised by Dr. Justin Stephens (MSU Denver), Dr. Brandon Olson (MSU Denver), and Dr. Thomas Landvatter (Reed College). Students who participate will receive 6 academic credit hours and will take ANT 2710 (Archaeological field methods) from Dr. Olson and His 390A (A History of Cyprus from antiquity to modern times) from Dr. Stephens. Dr. Olson and Dr. Stephens are both strongly committed to MSU Denver and believe in its mission to provide a “high-quality, accessible, enriching education that prepares students for successful careers.” The goal of MSU Digs “Opportunity” is to help make this high-quality and enriching experience more accessible and affordable for MSU Denver students.

About the PKAP Excavation Site:

Vigla is the only known archaeological site in the world that dates exclusively to the early Hellenistic period c. 325 BC-c. 250 BC. Normally, Hellenistic sites have either earlier occupation periods (Greek, Iron Age, Phoenician etc.) or later occupation periods (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman etc.) obscuring their deposits. Previous excavations, including our 2018 campaign, have only found artifacts that date to the early Hellenistic period. The significance of this site is that chronology for the Hellenistic period 323 BC-31 BC is notoriously difficult. The extensive artifacts from this site-coins, pottery, projectile points, and sling bullets-indicate that the site was likely a military outpost during the early Hellenistic period. This period witnessed a great deal of military conflict amongst Alexander the Great’s successor generals. In particular, the coins that have been found in previous seasons all have images of Alexander the Great. The successor generals used this type of coin for roughly 50 years after Alexander’s death. Once the successors had established their own kingdoms and dynasties, they minted coins with their own images. This site appears to have had short term-less than a hundred years-occupation related to the dynastic struggles immediately following the death of Alexander. Thus, the site has the potential to radically alter our understanding of Hellenistic chronology and the imperial strategies of Alexander the Great’s successors.

Goals for Student Education:

Students who participate will have an invaluable opportunity to experience Eastern Mediterranean culture in a truly multi-cultural and safe county. They will also get archaeological field training, training in the curation of artifacts in a museum, and visit a number of important historical sites that relate to the history of Cyprus from antiquity to modern times. Students will also get the opportunity to explore sites in and around Athens, Greece near the end of the trip. This is a great opportunity for MSU students to experience Greek, Cypriot, British, and Turkish cultures.

Following their experience abroad. Dr. Olson and I will work with students on research projects related to their field and cultural experiences. These projects will provide opportunities for students to present their research at regional and national conferences, and have the potential to produce student and faculty collaboration on academic publications.


The approximate cost per student will be $5,000. The money will cover travel, lodging, food and tuition for the students. Funding for the directors will be secured through external grants and university research and travel funding. All money raised will go toward student costs. We are committed to this project and believe that MSU Digs “Opportunity” is a great chance for the community to help MSU Denver students pursue their educational and career goals. About Larnaca Cyprus Larnaca (Greek: Λάρνακα [ˈlarnaka]; Turkish: Larnaka or İskele) is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and the capital of the eponymous district. It is the third-largest city in the country, after Nicosia and Limassol, with a metro population of 144,200 in 2015.[2]Larnaca is known for its palm-tree seafront, the Church of Saint Lazarus, Hala Sultan Tekke, Kamares Aqueduct, and Larnaca Castle. It is built on the ruins of ancient Citium, which was the birthplace of Stoic philosopher Zeno. Larnaca is home to the country's primary airport, Larnaca International Airport. It also has a seaport and a marina

Kamares Aqueduct, also known as the Bekir Pasha Aqueduct, is an aqueduct near Larnaca, Cyprus. Located outside the city, near the old road to Limassol, it was built starting in 1747. Tassos Mikropoulos has described it as the most prominent water supply built in Cyprus.

The aqueduct was financed by Ebubekir Pasha (also known as Koca Bekir Pasha or Abu Bakr Pasha) who was the Ottoman Governor of Larnaca. The structure was in operation until 1939 and consists of 75 arches.The construction of the aqueduct commenced in 1747 and was completed in 1750, costing a total of 50,000 qirsh which was paid by Ebubekir Pasha. Foreign travelers have often counted it as one of the most important monument constructed during the Ottoman period in Cyprus.


A Wine Dinner event is planned to Raise Awareness and Funds. Date & Venue TBD. We will be working w/ the Venue that presents the BEST MARGINS as This Fundraising will have a Glorious Impact on their Public Relations...More info soon.

Featured Posts