New Bronze Age finds by excavations at Agios Sozomenos of Cyprus in 2019

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
New Bronze Age finds by excavations at Agios Sozomenos of Cyprus in 2019View of the excavations at the Djirpoulos site Photo: Cyprus Department of Antiquities

The 7th excavation season, conducted from the 2nd of September to the 4th October 2019, under the direction of Dr. D. Pilides, Curator of Antiquities, Department of Antiquities, aimed at clarifying the architectural plan of the fortress at Nikolides and investigating further the complex of buildings at Djirpoulos. Excavation at both sites was held intermittently as Nikolides is out of reach on certain days when exercises are held by the National Guard.

This year's attention was focused on the access leading to the tower, by extending the excavation area, to investigate whether the staircase of ashlar stones and the platform of ashlars running parallel to it were preserved further to the south. The platform was made of large ashlars of approximately 1x0,5m although they vary in size. The staircase was not preserved any further but it was clear that the steps led to the top of the tower; only some of them are preserved as well as the lower substructure of stones that supported the staircase. On the east side, the plaster floor, made above bedrock was traced. A channel, running from east to west direction (downslope) was made in the floor, its sides smoothed and bridged at two points with flat stones. Another two channels were found running parallel to this one on the north and south, unfortunately not very well preserved. These were also bridged over by the plaster floor at some points and may have functioned as drainage channels. On the west side of the area, a cavity, roughly rectangular, with a square ashlar stone (0,42x0,40x0,18m) in the middle was revealed and close to it, on the south, a circular hearth was found lined with clay and heavily burnt.  Two Plain White sherds were found with traces of a reddish substance on the interior.

As already noted last year, it is clear that the fortress was reconstructed at some point to add the formidable ashlar tower onto the existing circuit wall. The old wall was built of smaller sized zones, placed alternately with flat worked stones, while the new wall added to support the tower was made of large unworked stones, filled in with smaller ones and its faces dressed with ashlars. We tried to investigate how the old wall joined the new part on the east side, as the two were not on the same axis; normally there should have been a joint, possibly at an angle to each other. Unfortunately, in this exact spot, a large crevice was bulldozed out, causing a serious disturbance that did not allow us to determine this issue. In fact, the damage was so great that the wall was denuded of its structure down to bedrock and a huge collapse of large stones was scattered around it and down the slope.  As in previous excavation seasons on the fortress, there is a total lack of finds and only small fragments of ceramics, mainly from small vessels that occur. It is to be noted, however, that a bronze arrowhead was found on the surface after the winter rains, outside the excavated area.

Although the damage to the monument proved to be quite disruptive, the architecture and design of the fort are particularly impressive. It is evident that monumentality was a consideration but not the only factor for its construction, as it was further strengthened and embellished, meaning that defense was clearly another fundamental consideration at the time. In addition, both the plan, construction and additions indicate considerable awareness of military tactics and warfare. Given the scarcity of other such structures in Cyprus, one wonders first whether it could be the product of local expertise or an adaptation of a foreign prototype and second, but obviously not any less significant,  who was the enemy? These are issues that need to be further investigated both by continued excavation in search for more evidence and, in combination with the results from the recent excavations at the Barsak fortress nearby as well as the settlement remains at Djirpoulos and Ampelia.  

 

Excavation plan of Agios Sozomenos Photo: Cyprus Department of Antiquities


On the days when the fort on the plateau at Nikolides was inaccessible due to shooting exercises, excavation continued at Djirpoulos. The first aim was to complete the plan of the building on the NW and SE sides and slowly establish in the long run, whether there was a single complex or separate buildings. A new wall (802) parallel to 403 was located on the NW side forming a small room or corridor where a clay lekane, a pithos, a large storage jar and charcoal were found. Further excavation in this area revealed the continuation of wall 403. This wall continues to the NE (401) and turns at 90 degrees (400) to form an interior space. Wall 403 is interrupted by the Medieval irrigation channel which continues from NW to SE, already found in 2016. The channel was lined with gypsum and blocked with an upstanding stone on the eastern side. As the gypsum flooring was not preserved intact, further excavation below revealed the remains of the ancient wall, while wall 802 was also affected by the construction of the channel. On the south of the Medieval channel, the floor of plaster was preserved with a flat stone in situ, possibly used as a grinding surface as well as a sling stone.  On the north side of Wall 802, a clay hearth was located, roughly circular, around which burnt cooking ware, an upturned lekane, pithos fragments and a stone grinder were found as well as ashes and charcoal. Most interestingly, a small copper nodule with silver plating preserved on its surface was also found in the water sieved contents of the soil sample from the hearth.  

A long wall (811), most probably the extension of Wall 203, was located, thus joining this year's excavation to the rest of the building found in 2016. A floor of compact earth was revealed on the north side of Wall 811 with traces of fire. Charcoal, a small piece of slag and a fragmentary wall bracket indicate perhaps both domestic and workshop activities. This floor possibly dates to phase 2.  On the south side of Wall 811 large storage jar and pithos sherds with wavy ridges, fragments of cooking jars and basins were noted and on the floor, which was only partially preserved, a flat circular ceramic object, possibly a slow wheel was found.

Walls 803 and 804, parallel to each other, possibly repeat the architectural plan of the building found in 2016 with long narrow rooms or corridors on the NW part of the building. The upper layer, below the thick deposit of greenish clay representing erosion and abandonment, consisted of  compact earth mixed with plaster, possibly the collapse of the roof and/walls. Below, a layer of stones, possibly represents the collapse of the lower part of the walls and on their removal, a floor of plaster was revealed extending towards the stone channel noted in 2016. The plaster floor belongs to the earlier phase of the building as the wall built on top (803) indicates. Two new walls forming the corner of an interior space (814, 815) possibly also belonging to the older phase were found in the space between 803 and 804. On the south side of these walls, stone grinders, large sherds of pithos, cooking ware fragments and charcoal were retrieved. Some White Slip I sherds and small fragments of Mycenaean vessels were found above the plaster floor.  Close to the stone channel a small irregular cavity in the floor contained ochre, some small animal bones and fragments of White Slip bowls.  On the exterior of wall 804, below the thick greenish erosion deposit, some reddish clay and unfired ceramic fragments confirm the function of the buildings as workshops and domestic installations, as already noted in 2016.

It would be interesting to see whether the new part of the building appearing in the NW actually followed the plan of the older phase,  as was the case in the SE  part of the building and to also see whether we have two similar joining complexes with a similar function.  

Tornos
  1. 29/09 19:43

    Aviation traffic forecast downgrade following dismal Covid-19 summer

  2. 29/09 19:31

    UNWTO supports EBRD’S web tool for more than 26,000 green technologies

  3. 29/09 18:59

    Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas: Uniform rules will give Greece a strong brand as tourist destination

  4. 29/09 18:16

    Greek and US officioals tour IGB and Energean facilities in Komotini and Kavala

  5. 29/09 16:54

    UNWTO and FAO cooperate on promoting tourism for rural development

  6. 29/09 16:10

    Insufficient capacity dampens air cargo globally during August

  7. 29/09 15:52

    Additional action taken in Athens to assist contain spread of coronavirus

  8. 29/09 15:37

    United States Secretary of State: Greece is a pillar of stability in the region

  9. 29/09 13:52

    UN infographic: Covid-19 could set Tourism sector back by $1 trillion

  10. 28/09 18:14

    WTTC issues new report on future of Travel and Tourism during the post-COVID era

  11. 28/09 11:55

    Meeting between US Secretary of State and Greek FM concluded in Thessaloniki

  12. 28/09 11:52

    Greek Health Minister: As long as we are cautious no additional measures necessary

  13. 28/09 11:36

    Independent: Turkey is the greatest threat to Europe today and Greeks need our help

  14. 28/09 09:28

    Greek Finance Ministry: Ready to support the government's choices in health crisis

  15. 28/09 09:18

    Ambassador: US supports Greece's efforts to build stability in Eastern Mediterranean

  16. 28/09 08:05

    Greek Minister plans to re-establish municipal police for safer neighbourhoods

  17. 26/09 14:23

    Greek FM: Relationship between Greece and the UAE is strategic

  18. 26/09 14:17

    Greece's coronavirus hot spots: Youth gatherings in public squares

  19. 26/09 14:07

    US State Secretary to visit Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete to promote US support

  20. 26/09 11:43

    New restrictions to obstruct spread of Covid-19 in Attica and Trikala announced

  21. 26/09 11:11

    Shooting of film with Woody Harrelson begins in Greek island of Evia (videos)

  22. 26/09 11:02

    43rd Drama Short Film Festival presses "ENTER" in Greece

  23. 26/09 10:50

    Expert: ICU situation manageable if infections stay under 500 a day

  24. 26/09 09:44

    286 new Covid-19 cases and four fatalities in Greece

  25. 26/09 09:11

    Public campaign on Covid-19 protection to be launched in Greece next month

  26. 26/09 08:38

    Greek official: Covid-19 test not necessary prior to getting a flu shot

  27. 26/09 08:28

    New mini cold weather front to sweep across Greece

  28. 25/09 19:21

    Another European co-production is being shot in Greece despite the pandemic

  29. 25/09 16:16

    Greece records 342 new Covid-19 cases and nine fatalities on Thursday

  30. 25/09 15:13

    Expert: Call for mandatory universal COVID-19 masks in Greece

  31. 25/09 14:08

    Pilot plan for two-month accommodation to refugees leaving the Greek islands

  32. 25/09 13:55

    Cyprus Audit Office: No passports for affluent investors' families

  33. 25/09 13:02

    Ionian village suffers minimal damage from hurricane Ionas in Greece

  34. 25/09 11:54

    Celestyal Cruises to run 'Three Continents' cruise again in March 2021

  35. 25/09 11:23

    Archbishop of America meets with the United States Secretary of State Pompeo

  36. 25/09 10:34

    State Department statement: US-Greek relations the strongest in decades

  37. 25/09 10:24

    Greek Health Minister's estimate: Over 900 Covid-19 cases in Athens

  38. 25/09 09:30

    SNF funding programs for students in Greece and internationally

  39. 24/09 19:02

    Greek Prime Minister on pandemic: We can succeed without lockdown

  40. 24/09 18:55

    Mount Athos monks against general lockdown in Greek monasteries

  41. 24/09 17:41

    UNWTO and Google organize first tourism acceleration program in Sub-Saharan Africa

  42. 24/09 16:05

    Relevant Secretary-General: Picture on Athens' public transport will change soon

  43. 24/09 14:38

    Greek Health Minister and Professor Tsiodras to brief political parties on Covid-19

  44. 24/09 14:26

    IATA and UNOCT set out to collaborate on countering terrorist travel

  45. 24/09 14:11

    UNWTO launches new Tourism Recovery Tracker to support sector globally

  46. 24/09 12:32

    Greek Minister: Support for artists whose concerts and events were cancelled

  47. 24/09 12:02

    Health Ministry: Cyprus cuts list of tourist- safe coronavirus countries

  48. 24/09 08:21

    Concern regarding the spike in Covid-19 cases in Greece

  49. 23/09 18:51

    Greek Supreme Court: Members of anti-mask movement subject to arrest and prosecution

  50. 23/09 13:20

    Foreign Ministry in Athens: Greece and Turkey to resume exploratory talks

  51. 23/09 13:18

    Greek Health Minister chairs meeting on intensive care units

  52. 23/09 13:14

    Epigraphic Museum of Athens the biggest of its kind in the planet

  53. 23/09 13:11

    Greek PM and Cyprus president talk actions ahead of special European Council on Turkey

  54. 23/09 13:01

    US congressmen send letter to British PM for return of Elgin Marbles to Greece

  55. 23/09 12:35

    All outdoor theatrical performances suspended in Greece as of Thursday

  56. 23/09 12:11

    IATA Director General's remarks during media briefing on COVID-19 on September 22

  57. 23/09 10:19

    Little Bookstores Day to be marked in Greece on September 26

  58. 23/09 08:04

    Tax service offices open by appointment only in Greece through October 4

  59. 22/09 19:36

    New negative record with 453 Covid-19 cases in a day in Greece

  60. 22/09 19:31

    IATA calls for systematic coronavirus testing prior to flight departure

  61. 22/09 19:07

    Mount Athos lockdown under consideration by Greek authorities after outbreak of cases

  62. 22/09 19:05

    'Greece 2021' Committee and ANA sign memorandum of collaboration

  63. 22/09 18:57

    INSETE: Greek tourism contributes 23.4 billion euros to GDP

  64. 22/09 18:56

    Lampsa: No plans for sale of Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens

  65. 22/09 17:56

    Planet: The United Kingdom abolishes Tax Free markets

  66. 22/09 15:24

    Greek PM: Households and firms affected by Ianos will be compensated

  67. 22/09 13:11

    Finance Minister: Greek economy can endure a possible second lockdown

  68. 22/09 12:27

    EC approved the establishment of a ferry link between Cyprus and Greece

  69. 22/09 11:15

    Greek tourism: -84.4% in receipts and -85.4% arrivals during July due to Covid-19

  70. 21/09 12:27

    Greek Foreign Minister in Brussels to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council

  71. 21/09 12:21

    Turkish President willing to meet Greek PM over East Med and Aegean Seas dispute

  72. 21/09 12:18

    Nine Greek hotels stopped hosting asylum seekers during the last two weeks

  73. 21/09 12:15

    IATA: Proposed environment Tax will destroy jobs and fail to decarbonize aviation

  74. 21/09 12:07

    Study: The role of weather during the Greek–Persian 'Naval Battle of Salamis'

  75. 21/09 11:55

    170 new Covid-19 cases and eight fatalities reported in Greece within 24 hours

  76. 21/09 11:49

    Pfizer CEO expects effective Covid-19 vaccine to be distributed by end of year

  77. 21/09 10:49

    Greece attains record coverage of power demand through green energy

  78. 21/09 09:35

    Stricter measures in Athens against the spike in Covid-19 cases

  79. 21/09 08:02

    Schools in Pella of northern Greece closed due to Covid-19 until September 25

  80. 20/09 13:23

    AP: Two dead and one missing after storm "Ianos" strikes Central Greece

  81. 20/09 13:18

    New measures against Covid-19 pandemic announced for Attica Region

  82. 20/09 13:10

    Greek poet Tassos Livaditis’ “Autumn Manuscripts” translated into English

  83. 20/09 13:04

    Infographic: Rich countries have purchased the bulk of Covid-19 vaccines

  84. 20/09 12:50

    Greek PM: Additional measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus in Attica

  85. 20/09 11:43

    IATA: Announcement on studies concerning onboard transmission of coronavirus

  86. 20/09 10:56

    240 new Covid-19 infections and four deaths recorded in Greece on Saturday

  87. 20/09 08:24

    Greek Civil Defense Deputy Minister Hardalias flies to Ionian Islands

  88. 19/09 20:46

    Greek Foreign Minister speaks with NATO Secretary General

  89. 19/09 16:34

    Greek President to visit Cyprus in first visit abroad after assuming duties

  90. 19/09 16:21

    US technology firm Ansys expands its research and development center in Athens

  91. 19/09 16:15

    European Parliament urges Turkey to end unilateral activities

  92. 19/09 16:03

    Greek PM orders ministers to on site review of areas hit by Ianos Medicane

  93. 19/09 15:59

    Greece's Skopelos in Travel+Leisure’s 30 secret islands

  94. 19/09 14:31

    Celestyal Cruises distinguished at 2020 MedCruise Awards for second year

  95. 19/09 12:34

    Greece emerges as the top destination for TUI holidaymakers this summer

  96. 19/09 11:29

    Greek priest in Rethymno sentenced for violating face mask directive

  97. 19/09 10:53

    Athens-Thessaloniki trains suspended following tunnel flooding in Greece

  98. 18/09 10:41

    Greek PM expresses optimism for economy in Greek Roadshow message

  99. 18/09 10:35

    German Chancellor and Italian PM fully support Cyprus against Turkish aggresion

  100. 18/09 10:32

    Greek Finance Minister invites foreign investors to come to Greece