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.




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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:   



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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