Aceramic Neolithic site discovered in Troodos mountains of Cyprus

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Aceramic Neolithic site discovered in Troodos mountains of CyprusArchaeological mission by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Photo: Cyprus Department of Antiquities

Cyprus Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works announces the completion of the 2019 archaeological mission of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) in Troodos mountains. The team, under the direction of Professor Nikos Efstratiou, consisted of undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Archaeology Section of the AUTH History and Archaeology Department and Cypriot researcher Demetris Kyriakou.

Photo: Cyprus Department of Antiquities

This year, the site of Agios Ioannis/Vretsia-Upper Rhoudias a site in the upper part of Xeros River terrace in an upland area of Pafos District (elevation: 460 m.), which was first discovered during the 2018 excavation season, was further investigated. The 2019 excavations unveiled an impressive circular building which belongs chronologically to the so-called ‘Choirokoitian Phase’ (ca. 6400 – 5600 BC). The stone building has a diameter of at least 5 meters and is extremely well-built (consisting of two lines of stones). It is preserved in a very good condition. Other smaller structures have also been revealed in association with the larger building, as well as a refuse area. The excavation’s moveable finds include a large number of chipped stone tools of flint and ground stone-tools and also ground stone-vessels, as well as quantities of animal bones.

Photo: Cyprus Department of Antiquities

The discovery, in this far away and secluded upland area of Troodos, of the very characteristic architectural tradition of the round house, challenges the prevalent notion of the Cypriot mountainous hinterland being a culturally marginal area.

Furthermore, this new site raises the number of ‘Choirokoitian Phase’ excavated sites, which are few. The results of the AUTH excavations at Agios Ioannis/Vretsia-Upper Rhoudiaspose new research question regarding Cypriot prehistory and at the same time highlight the role of upland areas in Cypriot archaeology, a role which has been underestimated up until now.

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