(Site Director: Dr. E. Procopiou)
The Ministry of Communications and Works announces the completion of the excavation at Cave 1, at the site of Erimi – Pitharka. The exavation was conducted as part of the inter-regional programme, entitled Ellinokamara Kasou – Erimi Pitharka (Interreg IIIA), from the 10th.12.2007 to the 25th.01.2008, and between the 20th and 21st.04.2008. It is co-funded by the European Treasury of Regional Development and the Deaprtment of Antiquities, and the total amount is € 225.000. Apart from the excavation, the project includes the study and conduct of restoration work, as well as site protection and development. The excavation was conducted by contract archaeologist Dr. Anthi Kaldeli, while organisation was regulated by the Project co-ordinator, Dr. Eleni Prokopiou, Senior Archaeological officer. After the completion of the excavation, the cave was drawn by Mr. Costas Tsaggaris and Mr. Panikos Kakkouras.
The aim of the research was the completion of the excavation of all the chambers of the cave. Stratigraphic analysis was central in research, as it provided invaluable evidence for dating the various chronological phases of the cave. Excavation resulted in the recovery of more constructions in the chambers, such as benches, two hearths, and a curved stone wall, which comprises part of a built antechamber. Moreover, excavation revealed stones, which formed part of circular bases, as well as pavings with stones, probably associated with the conduct of work. Parts of the floor were intentionally covered with mud. The most important identification is an oval construction, with intense traces of firing in the interior and ventilation holes at the lower part. This evidence suggests the identification of a basis, possibly of a kiln, associated with ceramic production. Traces of firing were identified throughout the cave.
Finds also included decorated wares of the Late Bronze Age, and a great number of lithic tools. However, the great amount of fragments of pithoi and storage jars, as well as the identification of burnt clay and a number of possible pithoi wasters, provide supporting evidence concerning the probable role of the cave as a ceramic production centre. Albeit a possibility, it is of great importance, as Cypriot pithoi and storage jars were very popular in the Mycenean period. Despite the association of possible production centres, none have to date been archaeologically identified. The issue will be elucidated further by archaeometric and petrographic analyses. The confirmation of this hypothesis will demonstrate once more the historical value of local toponyms, as the area bears the name Pitharka.