Home > Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project, Teaching > Teaching Wednesday: Teaching with PKAP Data

Teaching Wednesday: Teaching with PKAP Data

I’ve been asked a few times over the last few years about whether I use our archaeological video, data, and analyses in teaching. Since I’ve been out of the upper-level teaching racket for a few years now, I have to honestly answer “no”. Every now and then, however, I hear from a colleague elsewhere who used some of the material that we made available on the web in their classes. This fall, for example, I heard from Laura Gawlinski at Loyola University – Chicago who used our documentary Survey on Cyprus in her introduction to archaeology class and passed along some great questions from her student regarding our methods and fieldwork procedures.

This past week, I’ve been helping Michael Fronda of McGill University to use PKAP’s interactive map and documents from our website in his Ancient History Methods class. He graciously agreed to pass along the assignment and let me post it here:

HIST 450: Ancient History Methods
Fall 2009
Final Project

Assignment: You will analyze some of the archaeological data from the Archaeological Project (PKAP) and synthesize this with other historical information (from primary sources, inscriptions, coins, etc.) and modern scholarship, to draw historical conclusions about the Cyprus (especially the site of Koutsopetria) during the Roman (especially Late Roman) period. Your report should be 10 pages NOT INCLUDING bibliography, maps, diagrams, etc. It may not longer than 20 pages in total.

For this report, you MUST consult and make use of the following:

☞ The 2004 preliminary report from PKAP, especially any maps, charts and diagrams.
☞ The PKAP webpage (http://www.pkap.org), which has general information on the site as well as some photos, giving an idea of the landscape and topography.
☞ The PKAP online interactive map (http://www.und.nodak.edu/instruct/wcaraher/disk_PKAP.html). This is vitally important, since it contains information on the location of walls and other features discovered at the site (such as cut blocks, gypsum blocks, walls, etc.).

Some Background Information: Pyla-Koutsopetria is located on the southern coast of Cyprus, not far from the important ancient city of Kition (Citium; modern Larnaca). The main site lies along the sea on a narrow coastal strip. To the north are two very steep plateaus: Vigla (directly north of the main surveyed area) and Kokkinokremnos (to the northeast).

The project has surveyed much of the coastal strip (see the maps), but also the heights; we will concern ourselves mostly with the lower site. It is worth noting, however, that high densities of artifacts have been found on both plateaus; as well, Kokkinokremnos was the site of a neolithic-Bronza Age settlement.

The great majority of ceramic artifacts come from the Late Roman period, with later periods also represented (Medieval, Ottoman, Modern). The site was, however, probably occupied throughout antiquity.

A large area was excavated, revealing cut blocks, gypsum (a stone with a marble-like appearance, used decoratively) and a great many fragments of wall paintings. It has tentatively been identified as a church. A significant number of “features” are strewn about the site, including numerous worked stones, architectural features (stone door pieces, pediment fragments, marble revetment, gypsum blocks, etc.).

Answer these questions: Analyze the available data, focusing on the lower surveyed and excavated area. Look especially at the distribution of artifacts found: consider chronological, topographical, and typographical (ie, what sorts of artifacts) distribution. Consider also the geomorphological information provided. In your report, be sure to answer the following questions:

☞ What type of site was Pyla (small town, big city, fortress, resort area, industrial town, cult center, etc)?
☞ How do you explain the distribution of artifacts? Consider both historical processes and methodological considerations.
☞ What happened to the site at the end of the Roman period, and why?

I expect that you will:

☞ thoroughly utilize the online interactive map.
☞ consult outside sources, both modern and ancient. L’Année Philologique will be an important tool, no doubt.
☞ include a proper bibliography.
☞ try to impress me by utilyzing different research tools and integrating different sorts of evidence.
☞ write the report as a proper report–do not break it up into separate questions. Thanks.
☞ draw your own conclusions. I do not want lots of “maybes” and “could bes”–you have the data, use it as an ancient historian and say something about the site.


And for the record, I do know that Teaching Wednesday is nowhere near as alliterative as Teaching Thursday. Rest assured though that my inner poet will make a Teaching Thursday available tomorrow.

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