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24 July 2016
Digs uncover buildings in Cyprus' 11,000-year-old village

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of more than 20 round buildings between 3 and 6 metres in diameter at the site of Ayios Tychonas-Klimonas in Limassol, the earliest known village in Cyprus, on the southern coast of the island. The buildings were constructed on small terraces cut into a gentle slope facing the sea. The walls were built with earth and strengthened with wooden poles, and the floors were often plastered. Most buildings contain large hearths, sometimes accompanied by a millstone weighing between 30 and 50 kilograms. The buildings were probably frequently reconstructed, as multiple layers of remains were found on the terraces.
     The buildings are situated around a 10 metre diameter circular communal building dating to between 11,200 and 10,600 years BP, that was excavated between 2011 and 2012. More recent surveys and excavations show that the village would have covered an area of at least half a hectare.
     Animal bones indicate the presence of domestic dogs and cats, and that villagers hunted wild boar and birds, and there is strong evidence for the cultivation of emmer wheat - a primitive cereal introduced from the continent. Large quantities of stone tools, stone vessels, and stone and shell beads or pendants were also found. At this time, the villagers did not produce pottery.
     The organisation of the village, its architecture, the stone tools and the presence of agriculture and hunting are elements that are very similar to those already been identified in the early Pre-Pottery Neolithic Levant, between 11,500 and 10,500 years BP.
     A statement by the Department of Antiquities describes the site as the earliest known manifestation of an agricultural and village way of life worldwide, demonstrating that although Cyprus was more than 70 kilometres from the mainland, the island was part of broader Near Eastern Neolithic developments.

Edited from Cyprus Mail, PhysOrg (12 July 2016)

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