Excavations at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou:
2014 Preliminary Report
By Luca Bombardieri
The Italian Archaeological Mission at Erimi completed the 2014 season on the site of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou ; the fieldwork has been carried out during the period July 21st to August 18th.
The Bronze Age occupation sequence at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou revealed two main phases, with a series of related sub-phases ranging from the Middle to the very beginning of Late Bronze Age period (EC III/MCI- LC I); The site area was then scanty frequented during the late-Hellenistic and Roman periods, apparently following a long-time abandonment.
The focus of 2014 season was upon the investigation of three significant areas, different as to the use and function: the top hill area (Area A), where an extended workshop complex is located; the domestic quarter (Area B) and the southern cemetery (Area E).
1) The excavation in the workshop complex provided us with positive results and a collection of new data related to the architecture, the building techniques and the stratigraphy of the Bronze Age occupation of this productive area. At this point, the whole workshop complex extends over the 30x30 m. area currently investigated. A complete open-air working area extends towards the eastern area of the complex, while a series of two new large rectangular units were cleared on the western and eastern wings with a completely preserved monolithic stone threshold, as well as pivot system and locking devices. A sudden collapse of the wall structures allowed the preservation of materials in their original place.
The analysis of botanical remains from significant contexts, together with the evidence of coherent working installations (basins, channels) and objects assemblages (spindle-whorls, pouring vessels, containers) strengthen the hypothesis that weaving and textiles dying were the main activities performed in the complex.
2) The investigation of the first lower terrace, where the domestic quarter is located (Area B), exposed the foundation structures of what appears as a large housing area, extending over the 20x15 m. currently investigated. A series of five roofed domestic units (Units 1-3, 5, 7) is organized around open rectangular courts (Courts 4, 6), equipped with small working installations (pots emplacements and basins carved into the limestone bedrock). The investigation of stratigraphic deposit within Unit 3 evidenced a sequence of two main phases of occupation during Middle Bronze Age, contemporary with the workshop complex on the top of the hill.
3) The southern cemetery area (Area E) extends on a series of terraces sloping towards the South-East of the settlement. The funerary cluster is characterized by a series of rock-cut pit and chamber tombs, dated back to the same chronological horizon of the settlement. Two interesting additional graves have been investigted during this season, of a peculiar interest as to the architecture and burial ritual.
The pit tomb 427 appears as bone repository, probably connected with secondary inhumations. The chamber tomb 428 (FIG. 1) revealed a multiple inhumation, whose skeletons 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 this burial context. 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, stone beads and a complete bronze dagger blade with rat-tail tang. The ceramic assemblage includes possibly imported vessels from Central and Western Cyprus, 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 of the University of Turin with a joint support of four anthropologists and a team of five restorers from Universities of Turin and Florence. A team of three topographers from Ge.Co Institute (Italy) performed the laser-scanner mapping of the settlement and funerary structures.
The fieldwork was carried out under permit and thanks to the scientific collaboration of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, in an on-going positive collaboration with the Direction and the Limassol Archaeological District Museum staff.