|RECCONNAISCANCE SURVEY AND EXCAVATION IN THE AKAMAS PENINSULA, 2022
A new pre-Neolithic archeological site on the island borderland
The Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, announces the completion of the archaeological survey and test excavation carried out in 2022 to locate Epipalaeolithic deposits in the Akamas peninsula. The research was conducted under the direction of Dr. Theodora Moutsiou, postdoctoral researcher of the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus, in collaboration with Dr. Christian Reepmeyer, specialist scientist of the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus.
The field research is part of the Prehistoric Landscapes of Cyprus (PLACe) research program funded by the Republic of Cyprus through the RESTART 2016-2020 program of the Foundation for Research and Innovation, in the framework of the Cyprus Research Award - Young Researcher (CULTURE AWARD-YR0418/0005) which was awarded to Dr. Theodora Moutsiou. The program is coordinated by the University of Cyprus with Professor Vasiliki Kassianidou acting as the academic contact point.
In April 2022, the research team, led by Dr. Moutsiou and Dr. Reepmeyer conducted a systematic surface survey using a grid for the systematic collection of lithic artefacts in the coastal zone of the Akamas Peninsula, on a plot that had been identified by the research team as an area of high interest for the preservation of pre-Neolithic remains (Figure 1). In addition a 1x1 m test trench was excavated in the richest sector of the grid. The aim of the test trench was to determine site stratigraphy and to locate material for dating (charcoal) and lithic artefacts in situ.
The research recorded more than a thousand stone objects that have typological-technological characteristics of the Epipaleolithic ‒ early Aceramic Neolithic period. The excavation also brought to light a section of a stone feature, the role of which remains unclear at present. Charcoal samples were found in situ within the test trench and will be sent for radiocarbon dating in the near future. The presence of a plethora of lithic flakes smaller than one centimeter, both on the surface and found in situ within the trench, indicates very limited movement from their initial deposition position. The archaeological objects collected in the framework of the research, are being studied in order to determine their characteristics (dimensions, composition, typology, technology).
The discovery of this new archaeological site in such a remote and secluded part of the island, calls into question the prevailing perception that the Akamas Peninsula was a culturally marginal area during the early prehistory of Cyprus. Upon completion, the research of the University of Cyprus in Akamas in 2022, adds new data to the study of Cypriot prehistory and, crucially, creates new questions that future research in the region will be called upon to answer.
Figure 1: An obsidian microblade collected at AK-1, a new pre-Neolithic archeological site in the Akamas peninsula.