An exhibition at the Cyprus Museum, Nicosia

We, the FF:MAC team are pleased to announce that the opening of our official exhibition 'FIVE/ΠΕΝΤΕ' at the Cyprus Museum will be taking place on the 31st of March 2023, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus. The exhibition centers around the life stories of five key individuals from the Cypriot past dating from the Chalcolithic to the Frankish periods. It will remain available to the public until the 17th of August 2023. Museum opening hours are Tuesday to Friday between 8:00 and 18:00, Saturday between 9:00 and 17:00, and Sunday between 10:00 and 13:00. We are looking forward to seeing you there!



Official visit


On Thursday, 25th of November 2021, Mr Valery Freland, Executive Director of ALIPH (Alliance Internationale pour la Protection du Patrimoine Dans les Zones de Conflit), Mr. Jean-Luc Martinez, Ambassador in charge of International Cooperation in the field of Heritage, and Former Director of the Louvre Museum from 2013 to 2021, and Mr. Emmanuel Mouriez, a representative from the French Embassy, visited CyI’s premises in Athalassa. ALIPH is the only global fund exclusively dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage in conflict zones and post-conflict situations. The Cyprus Institute and its regional cultural heritage activities, as well as the Institute’s connections with French research Institutions, were presented briefly to the visitors. The delegation was also given a short, guided tour of Human Bioarchaeology laboratory. The work of Lorentz's research group, the BioMERA project, and synchrotron radiation-enabled bioarchaeology were introduced to the visitors.

Official visit


On Monday, 15th of November 2021, the President of Karaiskakio Foundation (Καραϊσκάκειο Ίδρυμα), and Member of the CREF Board of Trustees, Dr Popi Nicolaidou Kanari, visited The Cyprus Institute’s premises. Karaiskakio Foundation is a non - profit organization established with the purpose of organizing a volunteer Bone Marrow Donor Registry. It combines volunteering and specialized scientific support, in order to serve the needs of patients with haematological malignancies both effectively and efficiently. She was given a briefing on the Institute’s current research and educational activities, as well as a guided tour of CyI campus and laboratories. She also visited the Human Bioarchaeology laboratory and learned about the work of Lorentz's research group, the BioMERA project, and synchrotron radiation-enabled bioarchaeology.

Meet our FF-MAC Interns (2021)

We are delighted to have received our second set of interns who assisted us in the various aspects of  reconstructing the lives of past Cypriots. 


Maria Nectaria Antoniou


Maria Nectaria Antoniou has a bachelor’s degree in law from Cambridge University, a master’s degree in archaeology from Oxford University, a master’s degree in law from Oxford University and another from Harvard Law School, where she wrote her thesis on the use of forensic anthropological and archaeological evidence in international criminal and human rights trials. Before completing her legal training in the Criminal and Administrative Law Sections of the Cyprus Attorney-General’s Office in 2019-2020, she took part in an archaeological excavation in Iraqi Kurdistan. She has also spent several months volunteering full-time in the excavation work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus and has taken some of Cranfield University’s short courses for credit in forensics (Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology: Osteology, Forensic Archaeology: Mass Grave Excavation, Mass Fatality Incidents).


Melanie Athanasiou


Melanie is a 4th year student at the University of Southampton studying Chemistry with Biochemistry Msci. Her main interests and skills lie in laboratory research and techniques for DNA and metal analysis of various samples including archaic osteons. She considered her internship at CYI an amazing opportunity to apply her biochemical skills into bioarcheological research. She learned from distinguished scientists in the field , reviewed literature, assisted with sample selection and documentation, and finally helped with the microscopic assessment of osteological collections for the identification of suitable samples under the supervision of Dr Simone Lemmers, a member of the ‘Face to Face: Meet an Ancient Cypriot’ project directed by Dr Kirsi Lorentz. 

Visit by the Ambassador of Finland to the CyI Human Bioarchaeology Laboratory


On Friday, 9th of April 2021, the Ambassador of Finland in Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Harri Mäki-Reinikka and Ms. Emilia Pussinen, visited The Cyprus Institute’s premises to discuss the possibility of cooperation in areas with a common interest.The ambassador also met with the FF-MAC Principal Investigator Dr Kirsi Lorentz, who is a Finnish national. This meeting included a tour of the Human Bioarchaeology laboratory where he was introduced to the work of Dr Lorentz's research group, the FF-MAC and BioMERA projects, and synchrotron radiation-enabled bioarchaeology.




CyI news

BioMERA news

Return to Hala Sultan Tekke - Our Collaboration With the New Swedish Cyprus Expedition 


                            Hala Sultan Tekke excavation team 2020 (Photo taken by Dr. Peter Fischer)


The Cyprus Institute (CyI) was extremely excited to participate in the 2020 season of the Hala Sultan Tekke excavation on invitation from the New Swedish Cyprus Expedition directed by Drs. Peter M. Fischer and Teresa Bürge. The Cyprus Institute team led by Dr. Kirsi Lorentz includes Dr. Simone Lemmers (FF-MAC Postdoctoral Fellow), Natalie Branca (FF-MAC RA and PhD student), Bianca Casa (FF-MAC RA and PhD student), Yuko Miyauchi (PhD student) and Sila Kayalp (BioMERA RA and PhD student). Despite facing several challenges as a result of the covid-19 pandemic including a downsized team, the excavation was successful resulting in unique finds and contexts. The focus of this season’s excavation was the cemetery, where we continued exposure of Tomb RR and investigated a second feature “Tomb SS” to the south of Tomb RR.


In Tomb RR a large number of commingled skeletal remains were uncovered. Mixed in with the human remains were a number of artefacts including local and important ceramics, a Babylonian cylinder seal, an Egyptian scarab and a lotus shaped-pendant and two female figurines with bird faces and earrings. The newly investigated “Tomb SS” yielded hundreds of intact or complete ceramic vessels. The “Tomb SS” structure is currently being interpreted as a possible cult place for worship in connection with interments. Both the Tombs RR and SS structures are dated to (1500/)1400 to 1300 BCE.  


The CYI team looks forward to further collaboration with with Drs. Fischer and Bürge on the excavation of this important Bronze Age site, as multiple of the Bronze Age individuals from the excavation of Hala Sultan Tekke are integrated in the specialised analysis taking place in the FF-MAC context. 


 For more information, please visit the following link: http://www.fischerarchaeology.se/?page_id=2923   



Meet our FF-MAC Interns

The FF-MAC team at the Cyprus Institute has excitedly welcomed a number of talented interns to assist with the reconstruction of the lives of your Cypriot ancestors. Our internship program has provided the opportunity for interested individuals to learn new skills, become better connected and to engage with the past. Learn more about our interns and their interests below: 


Christos Nicolaou


Christos studied a BSc Biological Sciences at Imperial College London, followed by an MSc in Human Evolution and Behaviour at UCL.  He is fascinated with the process of evolution and in particular morphology and life histories of early humans. He is currently taking part in the “Following the footsteps of an Ancient Cypriot” internship for the FF-MAC Project, under the supervision of Dr Kirsi Lorentz, Ms Natalie Branca and her research team. He has been directly involved with working on the skeletal remains from various different sites across Cyprus, participated in the Hala Sultan Tekke excavation and assisted with our contribution to European Researcher's Night 2020.  


 Holly Kunst 

20201127_112624.jpgHolly has a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Masters Degree in Archaeology of the Near East.  Over the last 15 years she has excavated in countries including Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Romania and has spent the last 5 years excavating a prehistoric site here on Cyprus.  Beyond history and archaeology her professional interests include museum studies and restoration work, in particular stone masonry which she took a short course on in Lincoln, UK.  She is currently taking part in the “Following the footsteps of an Ancient Cypriot” internship for the FF-MAC Project, under the supervision of Dr Kirsi Lorentz and Dr Simone Lemmers.  



Eric Karoulla 



Eric has an M.Litt in Digital Journalism and an M.A. in Creative Writing. His interests include archaeology and history, disability studies, gender studies, theatre (performance and criticism), writing, and languages (dead or alive). He is currently taking part in the “Following the footsteps of an Ancient Cypriot” internship for the FF-MAC Project, under the supervision of Dr Kirsi Lorentz and Dr Simone Lemmers. 






CyI researchers among the first external users at INFN DAFNE-Light Synchrotron Radiation facility after Covid-19 lockdowns


FTIR team2


In September 2020, the DAFNE-Light Synchrotron Radiation Facility welcomed a researcher from BioMERA and FF-MAC projects led by The Cyprus Institute, and from SESAME, who was the first international user to be welcomed by DAFNE-Light since the COVID-19 lockdowns in Italy, Cyprus and around the world. The research focus was on investigating ancient human remains from the island of Cyprus, using synchrotron radiation Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy to explore the preservation status of these almost 6000-year-old remains.


The research is now becoming a three-way collaboration between The Cyprus Institute's BioMERA and FF-MAC projects, SESAME, and DAFNE-Light, on the: “Identification, characterisation and exploration of diagenesis of ancient human remains in Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East (DIAGHREM proposal)”. 


“I am very privileged to have been able to prepare samples and conduct measurements here at DAFNE-Light at this time. Despite all the health and safety measures, I felt really welcome”, says Simone Lemmers, CyI Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on FF-MAC project. Dr Mariangela Cestelli Guidi, the Principal IR Beamline Scientist at DAFNE-Light stated: “Restarting our international research activities after the lockdowns with this project focusing on people who lived so long ago has a special significance”.


“With careful planning and coordination, the collaborative team was able to successfully prepare challenging archaeological samples for infrared spectroscopy and to perform another fruitful series of measurements related to this long term project”, added Dr Gihan Kamel, the Principal Infrared Beamline Scientist at SESAME.​ CyI Assistant Professor and the project leader for BioMERA and FF-MAC Dr Kirsi Lorentz, said: “This successful research visit to the INFN DAFNE-Light synchrotron radiation facility during these unprecedented times offers perspectives for continuity and new ways forward in international scientific collaborations”.


This research is funded by the Face to Face: Meet an Ancient Cypriot (FF-MAC) project, which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research and Innovation Foundation (grant no. INTEGRATED/0609/29), and BioMERA (Platform for Biosciences and Human Health in Cyprus: MicroCT Enabled and Synchrotron Radiation Enabled Analyses),] Grant No [INFRASTRUCTURES/1216/0009] by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research and Innovation Foundation. Transnational access to DAFNE-Light was made possible by the CALIPSOplus EU Project Grant Agreement N. 730872, WP15 - TA10 Transnational Access to DAFNE-SPARC. 

Labwork back in full swing

Nicosia, 13 July 2020

We are back in full laboratory mode! Today we picked up new osteological collections from the Department of Antiquities. The material comese from various archaeological sites, as the goal of FFMAC is to include material from various regions of Cyprus, covering multiple time periods. We are exiting to get started with the newly arrived material.... Stay tuned!

Material collect combo

 From the Department of Antiquities to The Cyprus institute - Dr Simone Lemmers (FF-MAC Postdoc), Bianca Casa (FF-MAC RA and PhD researcher) and Natalie Branca (FF-MAC RA and PhD researcher) 

FF-MAC ‘Home Offices’ and Project Progress

Nicosia, 04 May 2020


During the last weeks, the FF-MAC consortium has been keeping with governmental and institutional guidelines to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been able to continue to make progress during the confinement and we thank all our team members for their courage and resilience during these difficult times. ‘Working from home’ has been implemented as much as possible and virtual meetings have become the new order.As of the 4th of May, Cyprus is entering into a new phase of managing the pandemic, and so is the FF-MAC consortium. We will continue to safeguard the wellbeing of staff members and project partners, and continue with our project with the safest measures possible. For now, the CyI team continues their home office policy.  We wish everyone a positive continuation of your activities.Stay well, stay safe! 

Best regards, The FF-MAC CyI team


 FF-MAC team in their home offices: (from left to right, top to bottom) Dr. Kirsi Lorentz (FF-MAC PI), Dr. Simone Lemmers (FF-MAC Postdoc), Natalie Branca (FF-MAC RA & PhD student), Bianca Casa (FF-MAC RA & PhD student)

FF-MAC During COVID-19

20 March - 2020


Along with the rest of Cyprus, the FF-MAC consortium is currently adapting to the new COVID-19 situation. In accordance with governmental guidelines to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, operations at The Cyprus Institute (FF-MAC Host Instituion) will continue with only essential staff on its premises. The FF-MAC project will continue its activities as usual, to the extent possible, with necessary adaptions to align with governmental and CyI guidelines. With that, we are doing our utmost to keep our project staff members and project partners safe. Shifting our work from laboratories, studios, enterprise facilities and offices to home-settings will present some challenges, but also opportunities. Further updates or changes to the situation will be communicated.    

Wishing you all successful and fruitful continuation of your activities  

Stay well and safe!  

Best regards, the FF-MAC team


FF-MAC continuing during COVID-19: An impression of the first CYI FF-MAC team Virtual meeting. From top to bottom, left to right: Bianca Casa (FF-MAC RA & PhD student), Sila Kayalp (BioMERA RA and PhD student), Yuko Miyauchi (PhD student), Dr Simone Lemmers (FF-MAC Postdoc), Natalie Branca (FF-MAC RA & PhD student), Grigoria Ioannou (PhD student), and Dr Kirsi Lorentz (FF-MAC PI). 

CyI Establishes Research Collaboration with the New Swedish Cyprus Expedition at Hala Sultan Tekke

Hala Sultan Tekke crew

The Cyprus Institute (CyI) is proud to announce the establishment of a new research collaboration with the New Swedish Cyprus Expedition at Hala Sultan Tekke, of which a selection of individuals will be included in the Face to Face: Meet an Ancient Cypriot (FF-MAC) project. Dr Kirsi Lorentz leads the team which focuses on state-of-the-art bioarchaeological analyses to explore human health in the context of extensive metal working at Hala Sultan Tekke, as well as other aspects of human life at the site. Dr Lorentz’s team consists of Dr Simone Lemmers (FF-MAC Postdoctoral Fellow), five PhD students, and two research assistants (incl. Erasmus). The team will use synchrotron radiation micro X-ray fluorescence (SR-mXRF), bone and dental histology, palaeoparasitology, as well as other methods. Part of the osteobiographical research takes place within the framework of the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF) funded project “Face to Face: Meet an Ancient Cypriot (FF-MAC)” coordinated by Dr Kirsi Lorentz.  

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