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The group of water wells found in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world. In fact, radiocarbon dating indicates the wells are 9,000 to 10,500 years old, placing them in the Stone Age.

In 2009, a team from Edinburgh University found six such wells, at Kissonerga, near the coastal town of Paphos. The wells are said to show the sophistication of early settlers of the Neolithic period.

stone age water wells
Neolithic water well, Kissonerga, Pafos, 2009

According to Thomas Davis, director of the Nicosia-based Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, “the fact that they were using wells and that they tapped into the island’s water table shows heightened appreciation for the environment”.

The cylindrical shaft discovered by the excavator had a number of small niches cut out of its sides to enable those who dug the well to climb in and out. It was silted up, containing animal bones and the poorly preserved skeleton of a young woman.

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