The Kouris Valley Survey Project: 2008 preliminary report
Luca Bombardieri, Domenico Fossataro, Oliva Menozzi & Anna Margherita Jasink Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, 2009 : 117-129.
From the Introduction
The Kouris Valley Survey Project obtained new interesting results during the 2008 season, confirming the hypotheses formulated in the 2007 report and leading to further working proposals for the future. Our activity in September-October 2008 developed following two main paths: survey and excavation trenches.
We have completed the survey on the western river bank of the Kouris valley. The situation seems different from the eastern side: the only relevant findings go back to the Hellenistic/ Roman period and are confined to two sites (Sites 12 and 13) in the southern area of the valley. Probably, the morphological situation (steep slopes from the dam to the Roman terraces) has conditioned a north-south human transit along this river side. We may hypothesize that during the 2nd millennium B.C. the route from the Alassa area next to the upper course of the Kouris to the coast followed its eastern side. This working proposal will be discussed in depth in the future, with the help of further data. On the eastern side of the river we have revisited Site 3, where we hypothesized the presence of a ‘farm’ with an occupation during the EBA-MBA period on the basis of the high surface diffusion of Red Polished ware. The theory can now be supported by the results of the geophysical survey with a Magnetometer. A series of archaeometric analyses are in progress in order to study the different fabrics in Red Polished ware and in Coarse ware and the sediments located in the valley. After a first sampling of the soils and a preliminary definition of the pottery’s typologies, the samples have been analysed through optical microscopy, spectrophotometry, SEM and XRD in order to obtain morphological and compositional data. The aim of this research is to connect the Red Polished and Coarse ware fabrics individualized in the valley with the fabrics recognized elsewhere and to insert the Kouris valley’s data into a regional scenario. Moreover the study aspires to identify the sourcing areas for the different pottery fabrics, in relationship with the use of territory and its natural resources, especially for what concerns the geomorphology of the valley. Finally, statistical analyses on diffusion of some fabrics in particular areas and in relationship with some wares can furnish further interesting information on the settlements already individualized.
A further analysis concerns the study of the toponomastic repertoire of the valley area with the aim to outline a general picture from a linguistic point of view. As a preliminary starting point the etymological reconstruction of the name of Alashiya itself may be considered. Also of interest is the collection and the study of the local ‘speaking-names’ (i.e. those place-names containing a meaning relating to a specific human function carried out in the area, and their comparison with analogous place-names in other parts of the island).