Excavations at Ayia Varvara in Cyprus completed

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The 2011 excavations at the site of Ayia Varvara-Asprokremnos in Cyprus have been completed, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities. 

Classics and archaeology students work on a dig at Ayia Varvara Asprokremnos in central Cyprus [Credit: Cornell University]

Dr Carole McCartney directed the investigations which were a part of the Elaborating Early Neolithic Cyprus Project. 

Ayia Varvara-Asprokremnos is supposed to have been occupied at the start of the Neolithic period and it is also proven that resource procurement and manufacturing activity took place there, at a small but widely occupied campsite. 

The excavations of 2011 aimed to provide much more evidence of manufacturing activity, related to the production of chipped lithic tools. A subsistence focus on hunting is indicated through the production of such tools and tools including notches and scrapers were used for the creation of other tools and objects. Selection of an extremely high quality of chert for stone production is one of the characteristics that mark the highly experienced industrialists of the site. 

A selection of arrowhead/projectiles recovered from Ayia Varvara Asprokremnos [Credit: Santorini Eruption Org]

Furthermore, the attention of the ancient Neolithic inhabitants of Ayia Varvara-Asprokremnos is simply explained by the selection of site location. The excavations 2011 unearthed features that provided a large number of red, orange, yellow etc. ochre as well as anvil stones. This kind of minerals were known to the ancient people, as agents for tanning stone tools, an activity that is supposed to have been conducted at the site. 

Lastly, the curvilinear semi-subterranean structure that prevails the northern end of the site has been also excavated in 2011 and the mud plaster along the structure’s wall is an indicator of a lightly timbered super-structure that once roofed the large pit cut into the havarra natural. 

Source: Greek Reporter [September 15, 2011]

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