Late Bronze Age Society in Cyprus: Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios publication

The large Late Bronze Age site of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios near the south coast of Cyprus was excavated in 1979-98 as part of the research of the Vasilikos Valley Project, directed by Prof. Ian Todd and Alison South. A well-planned settlement of about 10 hectares located near the coast, adjacent to a major river and close to copper sources, it was occupied about 1500-1200 BC (Late Cypriote IIA-C), and included a variety of types of domestic, industrial and administrative buildings all on the same orientation. At the north end of a long main street, the dominant building (Building X) was a large square structure of tripartite plan, incorporating fine ashlar masonry, thick plaster floors and prestigious cedar beams and lintels. A large-scale olive oil industry was located in and around this building, with storage for 50,000 litres in huge pithoi. Seals, undeciphered Cypro-Minoan inscriptions and bronze styli testify to administration and literacy, and a deposit of "feasting" debris yielded much evidence for diet and a taste for imported tableware. Smaller buildings revealed evidence for domestic life and small-scale metallurgy. The prosperous settlement was abandoned, with only Building X destroyed by fire, about 1200 BC. The evidence greatly contributes to understanding of the development of complex society in Cyprus, the spread of sophisticated town planning, architectural design and ashlar masonry, the influence of international trade on a local region, the extent of copper trade, distribution of luxury goods, use of literacy, organisation of large-scale agricultural production, abandonments and possible climate change around 1200 BC, and more.

Over 20 years after the last excavation at Ayios Dhimitrios in 1998, all other fieldwork by the project (Neolithic, Chalcolithic and EBA-MBA excavations, archaeological survey of the Vasilikos Valley), has been published (1986-2016) in nine volumes of the series Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology (SIMA) and many articles. One volume on ceramics, artefacts and specialist studies of material from the earliest excavations at this site appeared in 1989, but to complete the long-awaited publication in another large SIMA volume, funding is needed to complete several specialist studies and for the technical necessities (drawings, collation, scanning and digitisation of old pre-digital plans and photos, data entry, layout, etc.).

The publication project is directed by Dr. Alison South (CAARI – Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute).



Bronze bull’s head weight from a domestic building
Group of pottery found in a deep shaft in Building X