Excavations at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou: 2011 Preliminary Report
The 2011 fieldwork season of the Italian Archaeological expedition at Erimi has been carried out on the site of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou from August 1st to September 3rd.
The site area of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou lies on an high plateau on the eastern river bank facing southward the Kouris Dam, just on the border between Ypsonas and Erimi villages. The settlement sequence evidenced within the site area hints to an occupation throughout two main phases. The first and most significant 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 2011 field season is concerned, the focus was upon the investigation of the top mound area (Area A), the domestic quarter (Area B) and the southern cemetery (Area E).
1) The excavations on the top mound (Area A) (FIG. 1) confirmed the importance and extension of the Workshop Complex, which is possibly intended for weaving and textiles dying activities, as also suggested by the results of the analyses carried out on plants residues from the soil filling, sampled from structures and ceramic vessels. The investigated area, which extends 20x20 m., revealed two new Storage areas (SA II and SA III), which extends in parallel towards the West of the previously investigated Storage area I. The excavation exposed the complete extension of the Storage Area SA II, which covers a wide surface of 7,20 x 3,50 m., and is subdivided into two rooms (Rooms A and B). The collapse of the walls of the Storage area was likely caused by a sudden event, so that the structure as well as the complete assemblage of ceramic vessels and small finds were found crushed on the plaster floor of the room.
The entrance to the Storage Area throughout the South-Western limit wall of Room B is characterised by a huge limestone squared block measuring 1,50 x 0,50 m., where the door-socket and locking door devices are completely preserved. Hence, Room B can be considered as a small entrance room intended for storing small and medium-size ceramic containers as also confirmed by the presence of some specific plaster arrangements into the floor. A stone bench with a complete grinding stone installation lies on the North-Western corner of Room A, suggesting a different function of the room, where a significant assemblage of storing ceramic vessels were found as well.
The stratigraphic deposit within the Storage Area is characterised by a sequence of two phases (Phases A and B). The ceramic assemblage of the two Phases clearly hints to a typical production of the South Coast horizon of the Early to Late Bronze Age I period (EC II/III - LC I), with a large percentage of Red-Polished and Drab-Polished wares. Furthermore, in the same area, a collection of stone and metal tools and clay spindle-whorls with incised decoration, as well as a rare comb-shaped picrolite pendant were found. This type of pendant can be considered as symbolic representation of carding wool combs, which supports the interpretation of the general function of the Workshop Complex.
2) The investigation of the first lower terrace, where the domestic quarter is located (Area B), exposed the foundation structures of an house. The domestic unit is organized around an open rectangular court (Court 1), where a fire place is located. Two rooms extends towards the East of the Court 1 (Rooms 1 and 2), arranged with stone benches directly carved in the natural limestone bedrock.
3) The South Cemetery area (Area E) extends on a series of terraces sloping towards the South-East of the settlement. A series of seven rock-cut tombs on two terraces (Tombs 228-232; 240-241) with small dromoi were excavated during 2008-2010 fieldwork seasons. Two additional graves have been excavated during this fieldwork season: Tombs 242 (looted in antiquity) and Tomb 243 (FIG. 2). Tomb 242 has cave-like single chamber cut into the limestone rock without any incoming dromos, as the previously excavated tombs of the terrace. Differently, Tomb 243, which is partly collapsed, has wider dimensions and is characterised by a bench displayed in front of the entrance. The human skeleton remains revealed a multiple inhumation of two adults, male and female. As far as the offering goods deposits is concerned, an assemblage of 13 ceramic vessels comes from Tomb 243. The repertoire includes small and medium size bowls, juglets and jars with applied and incised decoration as well as a collection of clay decorated spindle-whorls and stone beads. The typology and decoration patterns point to a typical South Coast Red Polished decorated pottery production, mainly dated back to the end of Middle Bronze Age period.
The fieldwork season involved a team of archaeologists, drawers and topographers of the University of Florence, with a joint support of an anthropologist of the University of Florence and a team of five restorers from the Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici.
The field works have 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.