|30 January 2000
8300 BCE child's remains in Cyprus
The child's remains which were found in a well in western Cyprus five years ago have been dated back to 8300 BCE, which would make them the island's oldest such traces of human habitation, officials said.
The antiquities department said in a statement the child's remains were unearthed in 1994 in the Kissonerga region, north of the coastal town of Paphos, and their age has been confirmed by independent research in Arizona, Oxford and Edinburgh.
"Based on this we may assume the earliest date of settlement in Cyprus was around 8300 BCE," antiquities department director Sophocles Hadjisavvas said.
Earlier this year French researchers unearthed what were then considered to be the oldest remains found at a 8200-7000 BCE site close to the southern town of Limassol.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found the Kissonerga remains in an ancient well which also contained seeds of domesticated crops and sheep, goat, pig and deer bones.
The findings suggested the child belonged to one of the first human groups of farmers to colonise the island, the antiquities department said.
In a second well, not as old as the first one, researchers said they found detached skulls of more humans carefully deposited together with animal carcasses. The specific burial customs were typical of certain pre-pottery neolithic cultures of the Levantine mainland and South Anatolia, providing valuable evidence on the origin of the island's first settlers.
Sources: ABCE News (29 December, 1999), The Globe and Mail (30 December, 1999)
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