Excavations at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou: 


2016 Preliminary Report







  Luca Bombardieri (ed.)












The field research activity of the Italian Archaeological Mission involved a team of archaeologists, students and specialists. The season research on the Bronze Age site of ErimiLaonin tou Porakou been carried out from September 16th to October 7th. 


The site has been investigated in greater detail, as a research project now based at the University of Torino and with the collaboration of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. 


The ancient site of Laonin tou Porakou (Cadastral Sheet LIII, Plan 46, Plots 331-336, 384; geocoordinates 34°42’43.00” N, 32° 55’23.00” E) lies on a high plateau on the eastern Kouris river bank facing the modern Kouris Dam, on the border between the modern villages of Ypsonas and Erimi, in a position that offers a wide and unobstructed view over the river valley and the coast.


Recent fieldwork has confirmed two main periods of occupation (Periods 1 and 2). At this point the best documented is the earlier Period 2, with two phases attested to (Phases A and B), covering the entire Middle Bronze Age. The following Period 1 occupation follows a lengthy hiatus, and is related to a sporadic use of the area during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.


The Bronze Age settlement appears to have occupied two main areas, of different use and function, located on sloping limestone terraces. A workshop complex is located on the top of the hill (Area A), while the first lower terrace is occupied by domestic units (Areas B, T2 and T3). Two distinct and contemporary clusters of tombs were located extra moenia, extending respectively south (Area E) and east (Vounaros cluster) of the workshop and the residential area.


During the 2016 season, archaeological fieldwork recording has been supported by specific analyses undertaken on-site, in order to enhance the body of evidences. As for the previous seasons, Martina Monaco of the University of Bologna carried out the preliminary anthropological analysis and identification of the skeleton remains from the newly excavated graves (Tombs 429 and 430), while completed the study of the anthropological evidences from burials of Tombs 427 and 428 (Area E); a further selection of bone samples from human skeleton remains, coming from rescue-excavated tombs at the Vounaros cluster, were carried out to obtain new data pertaining the diet through opportune isotopic calibrations and thanks to the collaboration of the Seconda Università di Napoli.


A complete sampling of the filling deposits from significant working installation excavated in the settlement areas (Areas T1 and T2) was also carried out, and the collected soil samples will be opportunely processed and analyzed by Evi Margaritis in the laboratories of the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, in order to obtain an overall characterization of the archaeobotanic evidence from domestic contexts .


The conservation laboratory activity involved a team of two restorers, thus allowing the complete conservation of the materials coming from the excavated funerary and settlement contexts.


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 Episkopi and Limassol Archaeological District Museum staff.


A special chance has been offered by the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus, whose director Prof. Lina Kassianidou kindly invited us to present the results of the Erimi research project within the 2016 semester workshop. The event has been also supported by the Italian Embassy at Nicosia. This lecture was a very pleasant and fruitful occasion to share our on-going research activity and gained results with interested colleagues and audience.


The present preliminary report is the result of a positive joint work that involved the excavation supervisors: 


Francesca Dolcetti (field supervisor of Area T1), Martina Fissore (field supervisor of Area T2), Alessandra Saggio (supervisor of the excavations in the southern cemetery – Area E), in collaboration with Giulia Muti (supervisor for the material assemblages processing and analyis) and with Martina  Monaco who also undertaken the preliminary anthropological analysis of human skeletal remains (Appendix 1).


Laura Volpe and Francesca Granzotto, carried out the final report of the restoration procedures (Appendix 2).




The focus of 2016 season was upon the investigation of significant areas located both in the settlement and in the southern funerary cluster, and differentiated as to the use and function: 


1)                  the settlement. Four new areas have been excavated on two adjacent terraces (Areas T1-T4), on the south-western quarter of the settlement


2)                  the southern cemetery. Two additional chamber tombs (T429, T430) were excavated on the lowest identified terrace of the southern funerary cluster (Area E)




























During the 2016 season, new investigations on the south-western area of the settlement, in Area T1, revealed new interesting evidence of organization in the settlement planning and segregation between inhabited and funerary areas at Erimi.


Area T1 extends over an area of 35 m2. located on a minor terrace in the western section of the settlement. The investigation in this area revealed a massive wall structure, that appears to limit the settlement to the West, following the natural edge of the terrace. The wall is 1,60/1,70 m. width, a cut within the bedrock of 0,60 m. deep was done to create the foundation of the structure and filled with rubble stones and large stone blocks with plaster mortar. This impressive wall structure appears as a sort of circuit wall of the settlement and can be presumably ascribed to the most recent phase of occupation of the settlement (Phase A), during the end of Middle Bronze Age. In fact, a series of installations (basins and working installations) to be dated to the previous phase (Phase B) were excavated in the external area of the wall.  Interestingly, a series of four elliptical shallow pits were found on the exterior of the wall; they were displayed in a line at the same distance from the wall (3,00 m. average) and contained three complete vessels properly deposited on the bottom. These structures, that do not appear to be working installations, may be instead related to the wall construction/abandonement episodes. A further part of the wall structure has been also evidenced in area T4 on the Southernmost section of the same terrace, thus suggesting that the wall also extended and outlined the village towards the South.




Area T1 - Stratigraphy and architectural layout, occupation deposits and associated material assemblages




As mentioned, Area T1 stretches for an area of 10, 33 m (N-S) x 17,54 m (W-E). The excavation has brought to light an open space characterised by a complex of features carved in the limestone bedrock (US 2) and a huge foundation of a wall structure (W1). 


As far as the stratigraphic sequence is concerned, T1 shows two occupational phases (Phase B and A), as recorded in the following sketch:




Abandonment > Top filling soil (US 1)


                               Basin Ft. 7




Phase A > Activity >  Foundation wall (W1).


                                     Basins Fts. 2-4, 11 + post holes Fts. 5,6, 10.


                                     Vessels T1.P1, T1.P2, T1.P6.




Phase B > Activity >  Basins Fts. 1, 8, 9, 12






In the first Phase B the built space is characterized by the presence of working structures, that are two large squared basins Ft.1 (US -3; dimensions: 102x104x60 cm) and Ft. 9 (US -28; dimensions: 120x120x30 cm), one elliptic basin Ft.12 (US -32; dimensions: 65x45x18 cm) and one circular basin Ft. 8 (US -23; diameter 60; depth 20 cm).


During Phase A the space was completely transformed with the construction of a huge foundation wall W1 (UUSS -13, 14, USM 16;dimensions: 14x1,70x0,55 m.), running W-E along the northern limit of the trench. The extension toward the East is not definitive because the wall extends over the actual limit of the trench. 


The wall W1 has been built within the foundation trench defined by two parallel cuts into the bedrock (respectively, UUSS -13 and -14). It is composed by big (average dimensions: 50-60x30-40 cm) and medium (average dimensions: 20-30x15-20 cm) limestone blocks and slabs, bound with thick layers of lime plaster. Some ground stone objects were found reused as building materials within the rubble stone materials. They are: one gaming stone (T1.S28, 13X10X3 cm), one rubber (T1.S18, 35x13x11,8 cm) and one circular hammer stone (T1.S20, 6,5x6,5x5 cm).


Two post-holes have also been identified near the western limit of W1: Ft. 5 (US -18; diameter 15 cm; depth 1,5 cm) and Ft. 6 (US. -19; dimensions: 14x10 cm, depth 1,5 cm), at about 30 cm west of Ft.5. Another post-hole Ft.10 (US-26 diameter 20 cm, depth 15 cm) has been found carved on the bottom of the basin Ft.8, which has been filled with lime plaster during this phase. Together with Fts. 5 and 6, it is possibly part or related to the wall infrastructure (wooden frame).
















The spatial separation of the workshop complex and the residential area, located in the lower terrace is an aspect of the evidence of considerable interest.


In this area of the settlement during the Middle Bronze Age, a less homogeneous building planning possibly produced what appears as an agglutinated architectural environment with roofed-units irregularly distributed around large open spaces/courtyards. The general picture is of a complex of roofed spaces and open areas, linked by entrances and passages.  New evidence of this season of excavation revealed that the residential area largely extended over the lower terrace of the settlement. Two new areas (T2 and T3) have been excavated towards the East and South of the workshop complex, where a series of domestic units and connected large open spaces were located. 






Area T2 - Stratigraphy and architectural layout, occupation deposits and associated material assemblages




Area T2 extends over an area of 10x7,60 m. respectively located to the South-West of the workshop complex (Area A) and to the East of the already excavated residential area (Area B). Its location among the two main mentioned areas and the presence of two wide semicircular rock-cuts visible on surface, lead us to choose this area for a focus investigation.  Excavation in this area revealed the presence of three roofed units (Unit 1,2, and 3)and two partially roofed or open-air spaces (Spaces 1 and 2) and an open-air working area, placed over two different elevations of the limestone bedrock, along the north-east\ south-west axis. 


Unit 1 is a roofed unit, partially exposed on the North-eastern section of the investigated area. A regular cut into the bedrock (U.S. -6) outline a rectangular room, whose floor was presumably underground (according to a building technique, already observed in the settlement at Erimi-LtP). It is visible just part of its extension (1.60 x 1.80 m.), while the rest of the room currently lies over the northern limit of the actual excavated area. The built space is defined by the bedrock base (B3) on the eastern side, while a wall (U.S.M.1) in dry stone masonry on the western side of the unit seems to plug up an asymmetry of the bedrock and, togheter with the rock-cut, shapes the western bedrocks base (B4). The wall U.S.M. 1 was made with limestone blocks and others large size squared blocks. 


An open-air working area has been identified on the north-western section of the trench. Here, the bedrock surface appears irregular and even unworked, except for the northwestern section, where the bedrock surface was regularized by the use of plaster (U.S.10). 


This open-air area is characterized by the presence of numerous installation directly carved into the bedrock  spread in the area that may linked to some domestic working activities. Seven circular holes (Fts. 2, 6, 7, 9,  10, 11, 20) of small dimensions and deep (average diameters: 10x10 cm, and 5 cm deep), which probably could be used as post-holes, were identified in this area and can be presumably connected to temporary shadow coverings. Three emplacements (Fts. 4, 5, 12) are located in proximity with each other while another presumably emplacement (Ft. 3) included numerous low fired coarse clay sherds (P9) which refer of a vessel of a not yet identified shape or of a structural element and an unworked picrolite cobble (S26). In proximity of Unit 1 an additional ovoid hole (Ft. 8: diameter: 32x40 cm, 32 cm deep) that, given its depth, could be interpreted as a post-hole linked to the wall structure (B4). A further circular basin (Ft. 1) has a diabase flat base embedded into the bottom and may be differently interpreted as a mortar-like installation. From the topsoil deposit (U.S.1) in this section, a modified sherd (P3) come from. 


It is worth to mention that a complete series of samples taken from U.S. fillings of these basins have been taken and will be analysed, in order to trace possible organic residues within the samples. 


Two long flow channels with a similar layout were placed respectively to the South of Unit 1 and to the South of the open-air working area mentioned above. 


Ft. 14 and Ft.15 are part of the same long channel sloping southward the open-air working area. Ft. 14 is a long narrow channel (70 cm long; 15 cm. deep) connected with a roughly rectangular feature (Ft. 15)(dimensions: 74x35 cm; 20 cm deep), directly opened to the Space 1. 


Ft.22 and Ft.23 are part of a similar long channel, located southward Unit 1. Ft.22 is a much longer narrow channel (2.5 m.; 10 cm. deep preserved) which appears to flow into a wide basin with an irregular plan (Ft. 23) (average 2,00 x 1,5 m.; 10 cm. deep preserved). This last basin is probably opened to Space 2 to the South, even if the terminal side has been largely ruined by modern alteration of the surface (trees roots). If compared with Ft. 14+Ft.15, this channel seems to better follow the bedrock surface and its natural decline. 


As mentioned above, two open or semi-open spaces (Space 1 and 2) and two roofed units (Unit 2 and 3) were identified in the southern section of the excavated area. From topsoil depsit (U.S.1) in this area a biconical stone mortar (S19) has been recovered.


Space 1 extends over an area of 4,5 x 2,5 m.. It appears properly limited to the North and East sides by by deep rock-cuts (US -17) that supported two base for wall structures (B1 and B2). The western side shows a possible short rock-cut that seems parallel to B2 while the southern side is hardly damaged. In this area, what appears to be a double round angular rock-cut (U.S.-22) reveals the limit of Space 1. 


A large pit (Ft.17) measuring 76x72x 72 cm. is placed on the northern section of Space 1, directly carved into the bedrock and presumably used as a domestic dump structure, where a deposit of discarded ground stone tools, fragmentary clay mealing bins and refused caprovines bones was excavated. 


Ft. 17 was found filled by stone blocks; from the filling of the pit (U.S.30) a relevant domestic assemblage come from, including a fragmentary biconical spindle whorl (P5), two fragmentary mealing bins (P7, P11), a large RP jug (P14), a fragmentary RP III (?) bowl (P15) and a fragmentary RP amphora (P13). Additionally, a collection of ground stone tools come from the same filling deposit of the pit Ft. 17, including an hammerstone (S21), a  complete elongated oval quern (S23), an ovoid pounder (S25). A reduced number of 12 animal bones (AB 1-12) come from the bottom of this pit; further analysis will hopefully clarify the range of animal species. 


Within Space 1, two additional mortar-like installations come from: Ft.18 (40x38 cm, 22 cm deep) is directly carved into the bedrock floor almost in the center of Space 1 (F. 1); Ft.16 (20x20 cm, 15 cm deep) has a diabase base. A sea shell (SH1) come from the bottom of Ft.18. The bedrock floor F. 1 bears traces of plaster covering (U.S. 57) probably used for regularizing it. 


Space 2 (2,5 x 2 m.) is connected with Space 1, through the entrance D.1. A similar round deep rockcut, like Space 1, limits this space to the North. It is likely to be limited by a wooden-frame structure, rather than a proper limit wall, as Space 1 is. A quadrangular basin ( Ft. 19; dimensions: 90x90 cm.) has been cerved directly into the bedrock floor F.2, and was not excavated yet. 


Unit 2 is a roofed unit, partially exposed on the Southern section of the investigated area. A regular cut into the bedrock (U.S. -46) outline a rectangular room whose actual extension is 3,5x 1,3 m., while the rest of the room currently lies over the southern limit of the actual excavated area. Part of a collapsed wall (U.S. 58, CW 2) has been found in the north-eastern section of the unit. 


It can be observed that the wall structures pertaining to Unit 2 and limiting the room to the North (B.6)  and Est (B. 7) are hardly connecting, since the north-eastern corner of the room is cut by Ft.23, thus preventing a possible joint between the two walls. A different use of this part of the area during the two chronological phases could be an hypothesis to possibly explain it, with the Unit 2 used during the earliest phase (Phase B) and the consequent building of channel Ft. 22+Ft.23 during the more recent phase (Phase A). However, the presence of a visible collapsed wall within the Unit 2 (the mentioned CW 2) seems to rule out this hypothesis. Further investigation and a complete outline of the stratigraphic sequence within this unit, will certainly add elements to clarify the original use of the spaces and the development in the architectural layout. 


Unit 3 is a partially exposed roofed unit, which extends over an area of 2,3x1,3 m., located in the south-eastern section of the area. A regular cut into the bedrock (U.S. -48) outline a rectangular room, that partially lies over the southern and eastern limit of the actual excavated area. Part of a collapsed wall (U.S. 59, CW 3) has been found in the northern side of this unit. 


In general perspective, all the identified units have an analogous orientation on the NorthSouth axis, likewise the workshop complex (Area A). It is worth noting that, while the entrance to Unit 1 was presumably located on the northern side while the entrances of Unit 2 and 3 were presumably located on the southern side. Considering the difference in elevation and the general layout of the units and spaces identified, we may observe that no direct connection between the upper section (Unit 1 and open-air working area) and the lower one (Units 2, 3 and Spaces 1 and 2) can be detected.




Area T3 - Stratigraphy and architectural layout, occupation deposits and associated material assemblages




Area T3 extends over an area of 3.60 x 4,00 m., located the hill top, in the same terrace where the workshop complex (Area A) is identified, northward the Area B2, excavated in 2014. The investigation was aimed at verify the extension of the settlement and, specifically, the residential area, in relation with the workshop complex. 


The excavation revealed a portion of a presumable roofed room (Unit 1), defined on the North and West sides by a regular and rectilinear cut into the bedrock, following a standard building technique at Erimi. At this stage, the reduced investigated area prevent us to understand the extension and orientation of this identified unit, which is presumably intended for residential purposes. 


Along the North cut (US. -3), a rectangular bench Ft. 1 (0.88x0.48 m.) has been excavated, directly  carved into the limestone bedrock. An additional feature has been found along the North section, partially extending over the actual limit of the area T3; it is a rounded/elliptical basin (dimensions: 0.50 by 0.55 m.).


Since the orientation of the Unit 1 in T3 seems diverging from that of the unit exposed in the adjacent Area B2, the connection and layout of this area of the settlement needs to be further explored.




































As mentioned above, the cemetery extends just outside the wall in T1. 


As far as the funerary architecture is concerned, three major types of tombs were identified:  - Pit tombs have elliptical or irregularly rounded plan and have been carved within the natural flat surface of the lowest identified terrace. 


- Chamber tombs are most elaborated tombs and have single or double irregularly rounded chambers with a cave-like section, a short dromos leads to the grave chamber of tombs 228230, located on the upper terrace, while more deep shaft dromoi were cut in the lower terrace where the entrances were roughly outlined by regularizing the terrace façade.  - Finally, pit/chamber tombs appears to have a mixed structure in between the major mentioned types.






The Southern funerary cluster (Area E) extends on a series of terraces sloping towards the


South-East of the settlement. A series of 11 rock-cut tombs were excavated during last 20082014 fieldwork seasons. 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. The tombs lie on two limestone terraces, whose facade has been slightly worked out arrange a better, regularized slope, for the tombs’ entrance. 


With regards to Area E, the main purpose of the 2016 season was to further investigate the cemetery area in order to better understand the mortuary rituals and funerary practices of the Bronze Age community of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou.


Two interesting additional graves (Tombs 429 and 430) have been excavated during this season, of a peculiar interest as to the architecture and burial ritual.




Tomb 429




Tomb 429 is a large underground chamber, with two entrances and a large stomion block. Chamber tomb 429 has an irregular plan, roughly ovoidal, with a maximum diameter of 2.75 m (East-West axis) by 2.10 m (North-Sud axis). The tomb shows some structural peculiarities in respect to the standard mortuary ritual observed at Erimi. In fact, this tomb shows two entrances, cut into the bedrock one next to other. The major East entrance has circular shape (0.85 x 0.72 m.), thus allowing a “vertical” access to the chamber; the minor West entrance (0.60 x 0.65 m.) is instead realized by creating a flattened façade, thus allowing an “horizontal” access to the chamber. This last entrance was originally closed by a large regularized stone block stomion (Ft. 1). While it was not found in its original position, the overall dimensions suggest a possible use like a tomb’s marker. 


Another distinctive aspect is the presence of a shaft dromos, roughly ovoidal in shape, which encloses the West entrance to T429 and the entrance to the adjacent T430.


Two additional relevant features of particular interest can be observed: 


1.                   a small rounded shallow basin (Ft. 2: diameter 0.15 m.; 0.26 m deep), carved into the bedrock deposition floor and located exactly below the West entrance. This quite enigmatic feature, which finds no parallels in the funerary architecture observed at Erimi, can be possibly related to a ritual function. 


2.                   a secondary entrance, located on the East wall of the chamber, intended for connecting T429 with T428.




Tomb 429 was found partially looted; nevertheless, the deposit was found intact as for 2/3 of the chamber. Part of the disturbed filling was instead found in the adjacent  T428. For this reason,  it has been decided to entirely sieved it, with the purpose to verify the presence of human bone remains and eventual objects pertaining to the offering deposit. 


The funerary assemblage include:


Two RP hemispherical bowls, a cooking pot and a collection of 9 standard decorated spindlewhorls, a further terracotta plaque is also associated with this burial. It is a rectangular thin plaque with a repeated horn-like decoration on one of the long edges. No sure parallel were found yet for this quite enigmatic object, whose symbolic value and function are still not clear. The decoration on both sides and three small holes at the top and bottom extremities suggest that the object was originally suspended. From the same area of the tomb 10 copper-based alloy objects were recovered, mostly accessories probably pertaining to the clothes dressed by the deceased. Along with standard metal pins, strap-like objects and a small rolled strap, a pin of 55 cm long, was also found. This object is particular as to the type and, while the decoration is reminiscent of examples from Lapithos, it would be also locally produced or imported from a nearer area, if we imagine a possible regional MBA production center in Pyrgos, for example. Future compositional analyses may be eventually help us in addressing this aspect.


The relevant size and weight of this object leads us to exclude the possibility that it could be dressed. It seems more likely that it could eventually have been used to fix a textile shroud or similar burial garment. Traces of mineralized textile are visible on this object, and needs to be further microscopically analyzed in order to hopefully characterize the nature of fibers and the type of textile. 




T429 – catalogue (complete objects are listed)





Spindle whorl. Biconical with narrow flat upper terminal. Incised decoration. Complete.


Spindle whorl. Biconical with narrow flat upper terminal. Incised decoration. Complete.


Spindle whorl. Biconical with narrow flat upper terminal. Incised decoration. Complete.



RP Bowl. On rim small rounded lug with two





short parallel grooves on top. Almost complete. 


RP Bowl. On rim narrow double-peaked ledge lug with 3 to 4 shallow  parallel grooves on each peak. Complete


Spindle whorl. Truncated biconical with narrow flat upper terminal and curved carination. Incised decoration. Complete.


Spindle whorl. Truncated spherical with curved carination and convex sides. Incised decoration.



Spindle whorl. Biconical with narrow flat upper terminal and curved carination. Incised decoration. 


Spindle    whorl.      Hemispherical.        Undecorated. Complete. 


RPC Cooking Pot. Tripod base. Two vertical handle. Incised decoration. Complete.


Rectangular plaque. One of the long margins is characterized by a series of indentations of variable sizes. Two surfaces with incised decoration. It has two holes, one is located at non indented margin corner and the other is in the opposite side. A third one might be located in the missing part. Preserved 2/3.


Spindle whorl. Hemispherical whorl with convex sides. Traces of incised decoration. Complete.


Spindle whorl. Biconical whorl with curved carination and one flat narrow end. Incised decoration. Almost complete.


Bronze long metal Pin. Quadrangular slightly domed head. Pointed terminal. On upper half of shaft two flattened/splayed areas, elliptical in section. Complete.


Bronze plain pin. Shaft thickens slightly to a plain rounded head, almost flat on top. Shaft circular in section. Complete.


Bronze plain pin. Shaft thickens slightly to a plain rounded head, almost flat on top. D of head 7mm. Shaft circular in section. Almost complete.


Bronze length of flat wire wound into a tight slightly curved spiral. Broken at one end

Tomb429. M5

Five bronze fragments found together. Mended into four non-joining fragments. The largest fragment is strap-like, long, very thin and flat with one original rounded end; small circular hole.


Three joining fragments of bronze. Probably, the pointed end of a shaft, circular in section


Shaft of a bronze pin (or needle) with lower pointed terminal preserved; upper end broken


Shaft of a bronze pin (or needle) with lower pointed terminal preserved; upper end broken


Length of flat wire wound into a tight slightly curved spiral. Mended from 3 pieces of metal.

Broken at one end


Small length of shaft, probably from a bronze pin.






Tomb 430




Tomb 430 is located to the West of T429. Typologically this tomb is a chamber tomb type, with a irregularly rounded plan (diameter: 1.45 m). Likewise T429, T430 was originally closed by  large stone stomion (Ft. 1). This limestone slab has been found in the same position as  T429. Ft. 1, i.e. arranged exactly in front of the entrance. 


Interestingly, only few objects were found associated with this tomb, as an evidence of a possible ancient looting or, alternatively, of a peculiar ritual use of the tomb. A single bone fragment (KVP16.T430.B1), and  three additional Red Polished hemispherical bowl of the same size (diameter: 10 cm), were the only objects intentionally  deposited on the deposition floor. 


Furthermore, four ceramic vessels completely re-calcified into the bedrock have been found in the area across from the entrance. 




T430 – catalogue (complete objects are listed)







RP bowl. Hemispherical, with rounded base. A single lug from rim with a central groove. Almost complete.


RP bowl. Hemispherical, with rounded base. An horizontal plain lug below rim. Complete.


RP bowl. Hemispherical bowl with rounded base.

lug with a central groove. Almost complete. 
















Preliminary anthropological analysis of osteological material


The aim of the anthropological study season was to examine the skeletal remains coming from two funerary contexts excavated during the 2014 (Tombs 427 and 428) and the current 2016 seasons (Tombs 429 and 430).


The skeletal assemblage from the major tombs 427, 428, 429 appeared fragmentary and strongly affected by diagenetic processes, which have compromised the original osseous fabric (especially in the case of tomb 427). The skeletal material requested a preliminary accurate cleaning with soft brushes and water, followed by an additional restoration activity. The analysis of the remains was conducted along with three following steps: 


1.  the M.N.I. determination through the detection of the mainly represented anatomical elements and the distinction of bones on the basis of laterality;


2.  the age estimation through the evaluation of the dental wear in absence of other diagnostic features;


3.  the sex determination on the basis of morphological sexually indicators. 




As far as tomb 428 is concerned, a M.N.I. of four individuals has been estimated on the basis of: 


-          two pairs of femurs to be possibly connected to a male and a female adults. 


-          one additional right femoral shaft relating to a third adult, 


-          another right femur combined with two postcranial elements (clavicle, radial shaft) pertaining to one sub-adult individual. 


Sex determination was based on cranial morphology (Acsàdi and Nemeskeri 1970), suggesting the presence of a male (skull 3), confirmed by the observation of one diagnostic trait on two paired os coxa (sciatic notch), and a young females (skull 2). 


As to the age estimation, only on mandibles was recovered in connection with skull remains (skull 5): in the case of this mandible, it has been supposed a range of 10-20 y.o. because of the eruption of four permanent molars. But, the presence of a cranial metopic suture not yet closed on skull 5 frontal, suggests a different degree in the skeletal growth (> 3 y.o.).


A second mandible was found separately from the principal cranial elements, and it belongs to an old male individual (aged 40-45). The analysis of the dental wear pattern performed on 21 isolated teeth recovered under the poor preserved fragments of skull 1 indicates that they belong to a young individual (aged 20-25 y.o.).


As to tomb 427, the preliminary M.N.I. determination identified two individuals on the basis of two recovered crania: the first was recognized as a male (by skull 1) and the second as a female (by skull 2) by the presence of three sexually diagnostic traits (sopraorbital ridge, glabella and tubera parietalia). The evaluation of the size and number of other postcranial elements, femur and radius in particular, confirmed this interpretation. Considering the dental wear pattern observed on four teeth presumably connected with fragments of skull 1, a presence of a young adult (aged 20-30 y.o.) has been supposed.


Concerning the tomb 429, all the recovered skeletal remains come from the sieving of the filling of the tomb. Although the chamber was found partially looted and the bones in a poor state of preservation due both to post depositional agents and looting activity, at least two individuals has been identified on the basis of the size of femoral fragments. Age at death determination supported by the evaluation of dental wear suggests the presence of at least an old adult (aged 40-45 y.o). Only two isolated teeth show a tread-wear degree compatible with a young adult (aged 20-25 y.o). Sex determination has been not possible. 


With regards to the tomb 430, a unique small fragment of long bone was recovered from the filling of the tomb. Due to the absence of additional skeletal elements, it has not been possible to individuate the presence of one or more individuals. 








































































Artefact restoration: methods, procedures, and treatments.




During the 2016 fieldwork season at Erimi-LtP., four areas were investigate din the settlement, along with two funerary contexts (tombs T. 429 and T. 430). The artefacts restored come from two trenches, T1 and T2 (respectively located south and east of Area B), and the two tombs previously mentioned.                    


Ceramic and metal objects come from both the settlement and funerary contexts; among these, it is worth to mention specific significant assemblages. From T1, two juglets in RP III ware (P1 and P2) and a medium bowl in RP local ware were found at the bottom of three basins. Vessels mended from fragments, and a mealing bin of low fired clay (P7) come from T2.   


Complete and fragmentary terracotta vessels (e.g. bowls, jugs, amphorae, cooking pot [e.g. P20]), and 12 spindle whorls are from Tomb 429, which was found partially looted. From the same context (US 4, Tomb 429) come a terracotta plaque with incised decoration (P30) and a series of metal artefacts (most probably copper, or bronze), including: 4 strap like metal fragments (M5), 2 spirals (M4 and M11) 4 pin or pointed object (M7, M9, M10, M11, M12), 2 metal pins (M2, M3, ca 20 cm)  and one long metal pin (M1, ca 50 cm). The long pin (M1) has a flat metallic band wound around half of its length, and two flattened areas. On its surface, a significant piece of mineralized fabric and a mineralized thread/yarn. Among diagnostic finds in Tomb 430 are three bowls in RP ware (P4, P5, P6).




Procedures for restoration and conservation of ceramic objects are following:


      Cleaning. It occurred in two steps: 1) chemical cleaning through water, and citric acid (when needed, and occasionally by covering or wrapping objects with wet cellulose), which is helpful to remove earth and soften limestone encrustations; 2) mechanical cleaning through scalpel as finishing touch.(Fig. 1)


      Consolidation. Terracotta objects were consolidated in breaks with PARALOID B72 in solution at 5% in acetone. Only few vessels, very fragile in their fabric texture, needed to be consolidated on the surface through the same treatment.


      Gluing. The fragments were glued with MOWITAL B60 glue.


      Integration. Missing parts were reconstructed by modeling wax, and by using Polyfilla Interior mixed with mineral pigments (Fig. 2).


All treatments were performed by following the current methods of archaeological restoration, such as minimal intervention, reversibility, immediate identification of integrated parts if compared to those original. 




Procedures for restoration and conservation of metal objects (Fig. 3):


      Cleaning. It occurred in two steps: 1) chemical cleaning through baths in demineralized water for 2 hours, in order to remove salts, soil and soft limestone encrustations (Fig. 4). During this preliminary step, the status of conservation of metals is checked every 10 minutes. 2) Mechanical cleaning through scalpel to remove different types of patina caused by corrosion (i.e. production of cuprite, malachite, and azurite minerals) (Fig. 5).


      Stabilization. Baths in BENZOTRIAZOLE (in solution at 3% in alcohol) and brushed with PARALOID B 72 at 3% in alcohol when dried, in order to limit the natural process of metal degradation. Since Benzotriazol is highly toxic, the treatment was set outdoor, and gas masks and latex gloves were wore by the restorers (Fig. 6). All metals found in Tomb 429, except from M1, were treated as described. M1 has been left untreated for further archaeometric research on mineralized textile and fabric found attached to its surface (Fig.




      Gluing. The metal fragments were glued using cynoacrylate adhesive.






Restoration of the decorated plaque (P30)


The plaque was recovered in fragments, and its surface was covered by soil and limestone encrustation (Fig. 8). In addition, the fabric texture is soft, and appeared extremely fragile before treating. Thus, the consolidation step was performed before the cleaning of the object, by using PARALOID at 5% in acetone. Then, the artifact was cleaned by following two steps: first, it was wrapped with cellulose wetted in citric acid; then, mechanical cleaning was performed with a stylet as finishing touch to make the decoration and the two perforations visible (Fig. 9). Finally, all the fragments, including the applied decoration on one of the edges, were replaced and glued with PARALOID in solution at 30% in acetone. The restoration has allowed to re-establish the integrity, strength and beauty of the object, and a clearer and more precise ‘reading’ of its aspect (Fig. 10).




























The Italian Archaeological Mission at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou is a research project based at the Dipartimento Studi Umanistici, University of Turin. Research is carried out by a joint team archaeologists and specialists.  Team participating to the fieldwork: 




Luca Bombardieri 

(Project Director, University of Turin, Dpt. Studi Umanistici); 

Francesca Dolcetti 

(Supervisor, Archaeologist, University of York, PhD student); 

Giulia Muti              

(Supervisor, Archaeologist, University of Manchester, PhD Student);

Alessandra Saggio 

(Supervisor, Archaeologist, University of Turin);

Martina Fissore 

(Supervisor, Archaeologist, University of Turin);

Daniele Redamante 

(Archaeologist, University of Turin, BA Student); 

Paolino Tripodi  

(Archaeologist, University of Turin, MA Student); 

Giorgia Calamusa

(Archaeologist, University of Turin, MA Student); 

Stefania Spano 

(Archaeologist, University of Turin, MA Student); 

Giulia Sola               

 (Archaeologist, University of Turin, MA Student); 

Jennifer M. Webb

(La Trobe University, Melbourne);

Gilulia Albertazzi 

(Draftsman University of Bologna, MA Student);

Martina Monaco 





Conservation Laboratory - Restorers team:


Laura Volpe (UniTo, MA Student); Francesca Granzotto (UniTo, MA Student).










The archaeological research project at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou is carried out thanks to the scientific collaboration of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. I wish to express my gratitude to the Director Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, to Mr. Yiannis Violaris, Archaeological Officer of the Lemesos District and to the kind cooperation of the staff of the District Archaeological Museums of Episkopi and Limassol. Their kindness, support and suggestions greatly aided our research and make all of us hope for on-going collaborations.


I wish to thank the Italian Embassy in Nicosia for the support and for the interest in our Project, particularly the Ambassador Dr. Cerboni, as well as Dr. Tommaso Coniglio, Deputy Head of Mission, who kindly supported us before and during the fieldwork season. 


A particular thank to the Dipartimento Studi Umanistici- StudiUm at the University of Turin, and to the Director Prof. Enrico Maltese for his steady support and for the interest in the research project.  The project is grateful to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE – DGSP VI Archeologia), the University of Turin and the EU Erasmus Traineeship program for funding and support the 2016 fieldwork season.




Università di Torino
Università di Torino