Home > Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project > Narrating Pyla-Koutsopetria

Narrating Pyla-Koutsopetria

One of the simple pleasures of the end of fieldwork are the various papers that we write and the opportunity to present in narrative form the history of the site.  There is nothing particularly binding about the following narrative, nor is it even a working hypothesis, but a collection of potential interpretations in narrative form.  It sure beats the dry-as-bones digitalizing and number crunching that will be at the core of our more formal analysis!

By the later stages of the Late Bronze Age the various settlements in the area consolidated their population on the height of Pyla-Kokkinokremos.  Taking advantage of the imposing positions afforded by the coastal height of Kokkinokremos and the now-infilled harbor, this settlement must have controlled an impressive stretch of the coastline with views incorporating around the curving aspect of Larnaka bay.  This community comes to an abrupt end sometime around the year 1200 after existing for less than a century.  There is no real evidence of continuity between this community and later settlement in the area.  So, during the Archaic-Classical period it was probably a new population who established the small, fortified settlement on the height of Vigla surrounded by not insignificant shrines both inland and on the coastal zone.  By the Hellenistic period (4th-2nd century BC), it is possible that the small settlement on Vigla received a garrison perhaps of mercenaries funded by the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt who sought to hold fast to Cyprus and awarded the governors of the province the status of strategoi (or general) reflecting the military significance of their post.  The Roman conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean brought to an end the almost constant wars between the various successors of Alexander the Great and regional powers. This is likely revealed at our site by the gradual occupation of the coastal plain of Koutsopetria.  During Late Antiquity, or the Late Roman period, the coastal site of Koutsopetria reached its heyday. The substantial Early Christian basilica formed the western border of a prosperous coastal town. To the east of the church there appears to have been domestic space, but there are suggestions of another monumental building based on stray architectural fragments found during the survey. There is also evidence for what may have been modest harbor-side facilities.  Only recently have we discovered some faint traces of post-ancient occupation on the site. Our excavation has revealed a substantial post-ancient fill that preserved some pottery that we can tentatively date to the 10th-13th century. The fill was associated with a wall that seems to be a substantial, late refurbishment of the area near the basilica.  Later still, In the post-Medieval period there are only traces of activity across the site. There’s a rough wall that flanks the modern coastal road and the faint remains of a possible 19th century road running along a barely visible coastal ridge.

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  1. Kostis Kourelis
    June 20, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Very impressive. What a few sherds can tell.

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