Phase I - Archaeological Phase

 Exhumations are carried out on both sides of the buffer zone by bi-communal teams of over 55 Cypriot archaeologists. Based on information gathered by CMP investigators  or received from other sources, these teams, using both machinery and manual labour, excavate potential burial sites. When human remains are found, they are recovered using careful archaeological techniques and exhumed by hand. The process is documented through photographs and mapping, and all findings are labeled with unique identifying codes. Once the remains are exhumed, the Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI) buried in the particular gravesite, is determined, based on the most repeated skeletal element. This number may, or may not, increase as a result of anthropological and genetic analyses. 

Burial sites frequently turn out to have been disturbed through both natural and environmental processes (e.g. erosion) and/or human intervention. Moreover, some remains are found to have been reburied after relocation from a primary burial site. In such cases, it is not always possible for the CMP to return to the families a complete set of remains.