Cyprus’ Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, announced the completion of the 2018 archaeological investigations at the Bronze Age (ca. 2100-1850 B.C.) site of Politiko-Troullia, conducted under the direction of Dr Steven Falconer and Dr Patricia Fall, University of North Carolina Charlotte, USA. Politiko-Troullia is situated approximately 25 km southwest of Nicosia, near Ayios Irakleidios Monastery, in the copper-bearing foothills of the Troodos Mountains. Bronze Age Politiko-Troullia seems to have been the predecessor of ancient Tamassos, the seat of a centrally important kingdom during the subsequent Iron Age.
The 2018 archaeological investigations included expanded analysis of archaeological evidence excavated and surveyed between 2004 and 2017. Recent research has revealed extensive evidence of several fascinating features of Bronze Age life in the Troodos hinterland: 1) The remains of deer carcasses indicate large-scale community feasting at Politiko-Troullia on Mesopotamian fallow deer, which were hunted in the nearby oak/pine woodlands. 2) The villagers of Politiko-Troullia mined local copper deposits, and conducted household copper metallurgy, including smelting and casting a variety of copper and bronze tools (e.g., blades, chisels and axe-heads). The settlement was likely abandoned due to substantial erosion (possibly fueled by heavy rains) and the lowering of neighboring Kamaras Creek, after which the village well and water source dried up.
The results from Politiko-Troullia open an archaeological window on the farming and mining communities that provided the foundation for urbanised civilization on the island of Cyprus. The excavators are particularly grateful for the collegial support of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, collaboration with the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (Lefkosia), and for the kind encouragement and friendship offered to the project by the community of Pera Orinis, most especially by Mayor Theodosia Mau Partasi, former Mayor Mr Costas Miliotis, Mr Ioannis Demetriades, and other friends and colleagues in the Pera community.
Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project
The Department of Antiquities also announces that the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project (PKAP) completed its 14th season on 8 June 2018 under the direction of Dr. Brandon R. Olson of Metropolitan State University of Denver, Dr. Tom Landvatter of Reed College, and Dr. R. Scott Moore of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.The original goal of the project, which commenced in 2004, was to produce a comprehensive study of the coastal plain in the vicinity of Pyla-Koutsopetria region which lies on the coast between the eastern fringe of Larnaka and the western border of the Dhekelia cantonment.
In the summers of 2008, 2009, and 2012 PKAP field teams excavated a series of small soundings on the plateau of Pyla-Vigla that revealed the presence of a previously unknown Hellenistic fortification. The steep slopes of this hill provided both a strong defensible location, as well as an advantageous view of Larnaka Bay and the surrounding coastal plain. This strategic location, and the discovery this year of a large rock-cut fortification wall, sling bullet, and catapult bolt demonstrate the site’s military function. Furthermore, the architectural, ceramic, and numismatic evidence discovered during previous seasons clearly date the occupation of the fortifications on Vigla to the late 4th and early 3rd centuries B.C., a period not well documented in Cypriot history.
PKAP’s results from previous seasons were presented in numerous articles and culminated in the project’s first volume, PylaKoutsopetria I: Archaeological Survey of an Ancient Coastal Town, published by the American Schools of Oriental Research in 2014.The goal of the PKAP 2018 field season was threefold: to ascertain whether the monumental fortification wall discovered in 2012 continued across the northern edge of the plateau, to determine the date and construction of the fortification system if possible, and to complete the study of the previously collected early Hellenistic pottery for publication in Pyla-Koutsopetria II.
The small sounding excavated by the 2018 team revealed an impressive in situ mudbrick wall constructed on top of a large cut stone wall, situated on bedrock. At the base of this wall was discovered a small, purposefully constructed chamber containing pottery fragments and faunal material, possibly the remains of a foundation deposit from the construction of this wall. This discovery substantiates the chronology of the Vigla settlement established by the three previous seasons of limited excavation in 2008, 2009, 2012, and indicates that there was more monumental construction on the Vigla plateau than previously believed. Future PKAP work planned for Vigla will work to comprehend better the size and complexity of this Hellenistic fortification, as well as the role it played in the history of the region.