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23 August 2014
Earliest human burial site uncovered in Cyprus

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe could be one of the earliest documented formal human burials found on the island of Cyprus. The burial of an adult individual, probably a male, was found in a tightly flexed position in a grave cut into a larger, somewhat earlier pit.
     Similar sites in Cyprus have shown that the island was in early and consistent contact with the mainland Neolithic, and was colonised far earlier than previously believed. Human remains, however, had been elusive at all early Neolithic sites.
     Previously, parts of an infant burial were recovered, and elements representing several individuals were recovered from Neolithic wells. At one site numerous human remains were recovered in a large pit, and a flexed individual adjacent to a cat burial also was documented.
     The newly-discovered site was especially rich in stones, animal bones and chipped stone, compared with the fill of the larger pit. The site is in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains in the Paphos region, in the very west of the island - rather than near the coast, which is a more common Neolithic pattern.
     Many unique features are present, including circular plastered platforms, a huge chipped stone assemblage, and well-preserved palaeo-economic data, including cattle, which previously had not been documented on Cyprus until the Bronze Age. Animal bones include a predominance of deer, followed by pig. The partial remains of two other structures have been revealed, making a total of six. Over 300,000 items have been recovered to date.

Edited from Cyprus Mail (14 August 2014)

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