2009 Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project Field Season

Posted on 8/24/2009 11:17:45 PM

The Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project (PKAP) has completed its seventh season of archaeological fieldwork in the coastal zone of Pyla Village near Larnaka Cyprus. Since 2003, the PKAP team has worked under the direction of Dr. R. Scott Moore (Indiana University of Pennsylvania History Department), Dr. William Caraher (University of North Dakota), and Dr. David K. Pettegrew (Messiah College), and has used intensive survey, remote sensing, and soundings to document this rich archaeological landscape.

The 2009 field season was PKAP’s largest and most complex to date with a staff of thirty students and colleagues from the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Cyprus.

Over a five-week season, the PKAP team opened six small trenches at the sites of Vigla, Koutsopetria, and Kokkinokremos, each designed to test the results of intensive pedestrian survey and remote sensing. The trenches on the prominent coastal height of Vigla produced significant evidence of a Hellenistic (4th–3rd c. B.C.) settlement. An imposing fortification wall surrounded domestic quarters whose collapsed mudbrick walls sealed valuable ceramic material on the floors. These buildings may have been the houses for mercenary or garrison forces positioned to protect a vulnerable stretch of coastline near the cosmopolitan city of Kition, or perhaps the homes of local residents who had settled in fortified villages during politically unstable times.

The soundings on the neighboring coastal ridge of Kokkinokremos revealed two sections of complex perimeter wall dating to the Late Bronze Age. This wall suggests that the site itself was not properly fortified, but only ringed with a series of interlocking structures. While these structures would have presented an imposing vista to an attacking foe, the presence of doorways leading through the exterior wall indicates that residents of the Late Bronze Age settlement regarded practical needs over the need for an impregnable defense.

The final area of trial trenches was the Early Christian basilica at Koutsopetria. PKAP’s work near this long-known building sought to unravel the complex history of repair and rebuilding that occurred during the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries A.D. To gather information on the building’s tumultuous life cycle, the soundings focused on an annex room that suffered several incidents of significant damage before its roof and second story collapsed under seemingly dramatic circumstances.

PKAP Excavation

In conjunction with this work, the PKAP team conducted ten days of geophysical survey with ground penetrating radar in collaboration with Dr. Beverly Chiarulli of IUP’s Anthropology Department. This work revealed several areas of significant subsurface features.

The project enjoyed the generous assistance of the Estate Manager of the British Sovereign Area—Dhekelia Garrison, the Larnaka District Archaeological Museum, and the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute. The 2009 season’s fieldwork was funded by grants from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, University of North Dakota, Institute of Aegean Prehistory, and generous private donors. All field work was completed with the permission and cooperation of the director of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, Dr. Pavlos Flourentzos.

PKAP 2009