Excavations at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou: 2010 Preliminary Report
by Luca Bombardieri
The 2010 work season of the Italian Archaeological expedition to Erimi involved a team of archaeologists, drawers and topographers of the University of Florence, with a joint support of two anthropologists of the University of Florence and a team of five restorers from the Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici. The field work has been carried out on the site of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou from August 12th to August 31st.
The site area of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou lies on an high plateau on the eastern river slope facing southward the Kouris Dam, just on the border between Ypsonas and Erimi villages. Its position allows a wide view on the river valley as well as the sea fringe, suggesting a possible function as sightseeing point of the road network system within the valley. The settlement sequence within the site area hints to an occupation throughout two main phases. The first and most relevant one ranges from Early Bronze Age to the beginning of Late Bronze Age period (EC II/III- LC I); Afterwards the site area was re-occupied in the late-Hellenistic and Roman period, apparently following a long-time abandonment.
As far as the 2010 field season is concerned, the focus has been upon the investigation of the top mound area (Area A) and the southern cemetery area (Area E).
1) The excavations on the top mound (Area A) cleared the extension and relevance of the Workshop Complex, partly excavated during the previous season and possibly intended for textiles or leather dying activities (as suggested by the results of the analyses carried out on plants residues from the soil filling, sampled from structures and ceramic vessels recovered in the Workshop Complex). The investigated area, which extends 20x15 m., revealed two new discrete Working Areas (WA IV and V) characterized by a series of rock-cut deep squared basins and shallow rounded basins on different depth, connected with each other and linked to the near Working Areas (WA I-III) throughout an interrelated system of flow channels. A wide Storage Area (SA I) extends southward the mentioned Working Areas. The excavation revealed the complete extension of the Storage Area which covers a wide surface of 9,50 x 5,60 m., and is subdivided into three rooms (Rooms 1-3). The entrance to the Storage Area throughout the South-Eastern limit wall, has been also evidenced. This entrance is characterized by a huge limestone squared block measuring 1,85x0,65 m., carefully carved in order to create a step to access the floor of the Storage room. The door-socket and locking door devices, completely preserved, are carved into the stone entrance block.
A deep basin and a rectangular hearth have been also found out, one next to the other. These are built using vertical and horizontal stone slabs directly leaning on the North Eastern limit of Room 1.
The stratigraphic deposit cleared by the excavations within the Storage Area evidenced a sequence of two phases of use (Phases A and B). The ceramic assemblage of the two Phases clearly hints to a typical South Coast horizon production of Early to Late Bronze Age I period (EC II/III - LC I), particularly characterized by a large percentage attestation of Red-Polished and Drab-Polished wares. Furthermore, a collection of clay spindle-whorls with incised decoration, as well as a relevant assemblage of stone processing tools in ground and chipped stone come from the Workshop Complex area, as well.
2) The Cemetery area (Area E) extends on a series of sloping terraces towards South-East. The investigation of the necropolis area had a double purpose: to verify features and extension of the cemetery on one hand, and to collect new data about the chronology on the other. A series of five rock-cut tombs (Tombs 228-232) with small dromoi were evidenced during 2008-2009. Two additional graves have been excavated during this field season (Tombs 233-234). Luckily, both graves were unlooted; the two tombs similarly show a cave-like single chamber cut into the limestone rock without any incoming dromos. The tomb 233 is a single inhumation, probably of an adult female, while the bigger tomb 234 revealed a multiple burial. As far as the offering goods deposits are concerned, an assemblage of 23 ceramic vessels, most of them completely preserved, has been recovered from Tombs 233 and 234: a wide repertoire which includes small and medium size bowls, juglets and jars with applied and incised decoration. The typology and decoration patterns point to a typical South Coast Red Polished decorated pottery production, mainly dated back to the Middle Bronze Age period. Furthermore, an almost complete necklace with picrolite pendants and shell beads has been found out within the grave offerings of Tomb 233.
The field work has been carried out thanks to the scientific collaboration of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, thus strengthening a positive collaboration with the Direction and the Limassol Archaeological District Museum staff.