Excavations at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou:
2013 Preliminary Report
By Luca Bombardieri
The 2013 fieldwork season of the Italian Archaeological Mission at Erimi has been carried out on the site of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou from July 22nd to August 20th.
The Bronze Age site of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou lies on an high plateau on the eastern river bank of the Kouris, just on the border between Ypsonas and Erimi villages. The occupation sequence revealed two main phases. The first and most significant one ranges from the Middle to the very beginning of Late Bronze Age period (EC III/MCI- LC I); Afterwards the site area was frequented only in the late-Hellenistic and Roman period, apparently following a long-time abandonment.
The focus of 2013 season was upon the investigation of three significant areas, different as to the use and function: the top hill area (Area A), the domestic quarter (Area B) and the southern cemetery (Area E).
1) The excavation in the workshop complex produced positive results and a collection of new data related both to the complex layout and the stratigraphy of the Bronze Age occupation of this productive area (FIG. 1). The analysis of botanical remains from significant contexts, together with the evidence of coherent working installations (basins, channels) and objects assemblages (spindle-whorls and loom weights, pouring vessels, containers) strengthen the hypothesis that weaving and textiles dying were the main activities performed in the complex.
At this point, the whole workshop complex extends over the 25x25 m. area currently investigated. Three new large rectangular rooms were cleared on the western and eastern wing of the complex (SA IV, SA V, SA VI), with an average dimensions of 10x5 m. A sudden collapse of the wall structures allowed the preservation of materials in their original place. Thus, a great number of vessels has been found in situ; a wide repertoire of shapes is attested (large Red-polished pithoi, jugs, small spouted juglets), including a complete zooomorphic askos with goat head. From one of the rooms an interesting collection of 9 conical clay loom weights of different size come from (we could argue that they could originally have been collected in a basket or similar container).
2) The investigation of the first lower terrace, where the domestic quarter is located (Area B), exposed the foundation structures of a house. The domestic unit is organized around an open rectangular court (Court 4). Three new large rooms were revealed extending towards the North (Rooms 2, 3 and 5). The investigation of stratigraphic deposit within Room 2 evidenced a sequence of two phases of occupation during Middle Bronze Age, as previously pointed out for the workshop complex
3) The South Cemetery area (Area E) extends on a series of terraces sloping towards the South-East of the settlement. A series of rock-cut pit and chamber tombs were excavated during last fieldwork seasons. Two additional graves have been excavated during this season.
The chamber tomb 248 is of a peculiar interest as to the architecture and burial ritual. In fact, the large chamber dimensions (3,00x 2,50 m.) as well as the presence of a bench displayed in front of the entrance highlight the relevance of this grave context. Moreover, the human skeleton remains revealed two deposition floors with multiple inhumation of four adults, male and female, whose skulls were deliberately displayed on one side of the burial chamber in a second moment, possibly as part of the funerary ritual. As to the offering goods deposits, a rich assemblage of ceramic vessels comes from Tomb 248. 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, whose date ranges from the beginning to the very end of Middle Bronze Age period, thus confirming the long-term use of this chamber for multiple burials.
The fieldwork season involved a team of archaeologists with a joint support of a botanist, four anthropologists and a team of three restorers from Universities of Turin and Florence.
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.