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Second Excavation Season Ends with Unexpected Findings
2008-09-18 14:52:55

Nicosia, Sep 18 - The Department of Antiquities has announced the completion of the second excavation season by the University of Manchester team, under the directorship of Dr. Lindy Crewe at Kissonerga-Skalia settlement.

According to an official announcement issued here today, “the second season of excavations at the Early–Middle Bronze Age settlement of Kissonerga-Skalia was carried out. The village of Kissonerga near Paphos has previously yielded archaeological evidence dating from the very first Neolithic occupation of Cyprus and also an important Chalcolithic settlement but this is the first time that a research project has extended the prehistoric settlement of Kissonerga into the Bronze Age. Evidence from the pottery and architectural styles from the first season had indicated that occupation around Kissonerga extended into the second millennium BC, before abandonment around 1700 BC.”

The test trenches of the first season in 2007 had revealed the presence of preserved houses and other structures of the Early-Middle Cypriot Bronze Age (from 2400–1700 BC) and during 2008 the aim was to further extend these trenches to expose more of the settlement.

Although part of the site was destroyed by machine terracing during the 1970s, Kissonerga-Skalia is extremely important in understanding how the people of western Cyprus lived during the Early–Middle Bronze Age (c. 2400–1650 BC), as there are very few settlements known in the area.

The Department of Antiquities notes that excavations at settlements in other parts of the island indicate that Early–Middle Bronze Age Cypriots shared common lifestyles but have had pronounced regional differences in pottery styles.

In the northern area of the site, the team further exposed the remains of a wall, which had partially been excavated in 2007. This wall is 1.2m wide with one end curving and the other straight.

“We have now revealed that it extends for over 10 meters and hope to trace the remaining length in future seasons,” added in the announcement.

Curving walls are rare for this period and the unusual width and rubble construction also indicate that it had a special function. On the outside of the wall, the Bronze Age occupants of Kissonerga had leveled the surface to create an exterior area and on the interior face a circular mud plastered pit abutted the wall. Within the structure there was also an additional plastered pit filled with an ashy deposit, an area of compacted floor surface, spreads of pot shards and ground stone tools.

“This represents the latest preserved occupation in this area of the settlement. No subdivisions have yet been revealed on its interior and the wall’s function remains uncertain. It is possible that it may prove to be a perimeter wall, which would again be atypical for sites of this period”.

In other areas of the settlement, the archeologists exposed a large freestanding furnace-like structure and some typical stone footings of rectilinear Bronze Age houses. In addition to the preserved architecture, other finds include copper fragments, textile production (attested by spindle whorls and a loom weight) and numbers of ground stone objects, including agricultural tools such as querns for grinding grain.

The site has also yielded evidence of faunal and marine exploitation (cattle, deer, sheep/goat, pig, crab and shellfish) and botanical remains (grape and lentil). The architecture and organization of the settlement of Kissonerga-Skalia therefore has some unusual features, but also shares traditions with other parts of the island. What these similarities and differences mean in terms of how the Bronze Age people of the southwest interacted with other communities is a question that further excavation hope they may answer.

“We can now begin to build up a picture of life in Bronze Age Kissonerga but there is much work remaining for future seasons to be able to completely understand the site” the announcement concluded.

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