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26 July 2009
First settlements in Cyprus may be older than thought

Archaeologists in Cyprus found evidence that inhabitants of the Mediterranean island may have abandoned a nomadic lifestyle for agriculture-based settlements earlier than previously believed. The excavations at the Politiko-Troullia site, near the capital Nicosia, unearthed a series of households around a communal courtyard, and proof of intensive animal husbandry and crop-processing, according to a statement of the Cypriot Interior Ministry's Public Information Office. The dig revealed copper metallurgy and sophisticated ceramic technology during the middle part of the Bronze Age, or between 4,000 and 3,500 years ago, the statement said. Archaeologists had previously believed that such settlements, which went on to evolve into cities, only began developing toward the end of the middle Bronze Age.
     Cyprus, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, is thought to have been first settled around 8,800 BCE, according to the British Museum. The findings of the digs, led by professors from Arizona State University and involving students from Cyprus, the U.S. and Canada, "open an archaeological window on the communities that provided the foundation for urbanized civilization on Cyprus" in the late Bronze Age, the statement said. The fieldwork reveals extensive evidence of the Bronze Age community that was the predecessor to the ancient city of Tamassos, founded in the subsequent Iron Age, according to the statement. In contrast with other city-states in Cyprus, there were previously no precise details about the foundation of Tamassos as an important trade city.

Sources: GR Reporter, Bloomberg.com (22 July 2009)

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