Department of Antiquities


Souskiou - Laona, Lemba Archaeological Research Centre, University of Edinburgh


(Dir.: Dr. A. Peltenburg)

The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities announces the completion of the sixth season of excavation at the Chalcolithic settlement of Souskiou-Laona. The field work, which lasted four weeks, from April until May 2010, was conducted by a team from the Lemba Archaeological Research Centre and the University of Edinburgh under the direction of Prof. Edgar Peltenburg. The team has located evidence for the production of cruciform figurines of the type depicted on the Cypriot Euro coin. The evidence comes from a settlement of 3000 BC located at Souskiou near Palaepaphos.

This is the first time that such detailed information on this subject has come to light in Cyprus. Among the remnants of a house lay the tools for making the figurines together with abundant fragments or chippings from the initial stages of production. These come from pebbles and blocks of raw material which the sculptors obtained, ultimately from the Troodos Mountains. A further production stage is evident from roughouts in which the figures begin to emerge from the parent rock. Also present were nearly finished figurines that were discarded because of imperfections.

This unique evidence will allow archaeologists to reconstruct the techniques used by the prehistoric artisans and to see how the craft was organised within the Chalcolithic community. It is already clear that the workshop functioned in a building where domestic tasks were also carried out. There were many such houses at Souskiou which must have been a vibrant centre for the production of these iconic images. Eventually it may be possible to establish the characteristics of the Souskiou style and so to source some of the many currently unprovenanced figurines in museums.

In another part of the settlement, the team investigated a midden comprised of rich economic data (animal bone, ceramics, charcoal, bone needles etc). Normally washed away by erosion, the material here was trapped beneath buildings that were constructed over this ashy dump of food remains. It may have been deposited by temporary visitors to Souskiou before it was formally settled, or belong to upslope buildings which have now eroded away.

Souskiou Laona: Incised and painted rosette
with concentric groove around perforated centre.
Diam. 7.5 cm.

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