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28 June 2008
5,000-year-old jewellery workshop uncovered in Cyprus

Archaeologists have uncovered was appears to have been a jewellery workshop during excavations at the 5,000-year old Souskiou-Laona settlement (Cyprus). According to the Antiquities Department, a dense concentration of the mineral picrolite in the west ridge of the cliff-top settlement indicates that the spot was a workshop for the production of the cruciform figurines and large pendants.
     "The assemblage mainly consists of the raw picrolite material, possibly quarried from the Troodos Mountains rather than imported in pebble form from the Kouris River valley, many waste chips flaked from that raw material in order to reduce it to convenient form and a roughout for a probable figurine," the Department said in a statement. It said the roughout bore a multitude of tool marks that showed how the artisan began to fashion what was probably meant to be a cruciform figure. "Many chipped stones occurred together with these picrolites," the statement said.
     More investigations are required, but it is already clear that for the first time archaeologists would be able to reconstruct the stages of production of remarkable prehistoric Mediterranean artwork, from procurement to near-finished product. "The upper part of a delicate, cruciform figurine that still needed to be finished comes from another part of the West Ridge and it gives some idea of the capability of these Souskiou artisans," the statement added.
     The excavations were carried out by the Lemba Archaeological Research Centre and the University of Edinburgh. "The 3000 BCE settlement is ringed by a number of higher cemeteries, and this year a fifth, looted cemetery was located on the west ridge of Laona. Only a few rock-cut pit graves remain along the cliff edge since this side of the ridge was sharply truncated by the Dhiarizos River. To the south, additional examination of the Vathyrkakas plateau opposite the settlement brought to light more looted graves suggesting that burials had once been placed continuously along the lip of the plateau for a distance of 450 metres," was added in the statement.

Source: Cyprus Mail (26 June 2008)

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