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3 October 2009
Completion of the Choirokoitia digs for 2009

The Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Communications and Works announces the completion of the archaeological excavations at the Neolithic site of Choirokoitia (Cyprus). Excavations were carried out in July and August by the National Centre of Scientific Research of France under the direction of Dr A. Le Brun.
     Research undertaken in 2005 on the north side of the hill where the site is installed was completed. The aim of this research was to determine the outline of the walls, which constituted the successive boundaries of the settlement. The results obtained have, in many points, profoundly altered the view of the site of Choirokoitia and, more widely, the knowledge concerning the recent phase of the Neolithic Aceramic period of Cyprus.
     Research of previous years has shown that the expansion of the built area on the south side occurred simultaneously with the abandonment of the north side. Therefore, the history of the settlement needed to be reconsidered: it must be interpreted as a rearrangement of the built environment rather than the expansion of the village.
     This year's archaeological campaign contested the idea that we had until now concerning the way in which the site was inserted in the space. The wall, which constitutes the primitive limit of the establishment, was found in a deep trench near the river. Initially it was thought that the course of the wall was perpendicular to the flow of the river thus completing the natural protection of the river where it was absent. The new evidence has shown that the wall follows a parallel course to the bed of the river Maroni. Therefore, the village has to be seen differently, as a village enclosed by a wall made of massive pisé with its exterior façade revetted in stone. The elevation of such a construction at such length expresses a collective effort which supposes a strongly structured social organization.

Source: ISRIA (30 September 2009)

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