Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


3 February 2016

Tracing the steps in the fieldwork at the sites of Aspros and Nissi Beach on Cyprus

Albert J. Ammerman A.J. Ammerman & T. Davis (eds), Island Archaeology and the Origins of Seafaring in the Eastern Mediterranean, Eurasian Prehistory 10 (1-2) (2013): 117-138


The chapter provides an overview on the fieldwork that was carried out over the course of seven years at two early sites, Aspros and Nissi Beach, on Cyprus. It begins with an account of the motivation for the study and then outlines the new approach that we took in the field in order to find the missing pre-Neolithic sites on the island.

The chapter then turns to the six main steps in the fieldwork: (1) the discovery of the new sites on formations of aeolianite for the first time on Cyprus, (2) the work of mapping the two sites (based on a combination of Quick Bird imagery, differential GPS and low-level overhead photograph) and the collection of scatters of lithics on the surface of each site, (3) the environmental studies that were done at the two sites, (4) the trial excavations that were then undertaken at both of them, (5) the systematic recovery of the fragments of beach rock during the 2009 excavation season at Nissi Beach in order to document the action of one or more tsunamis in historical times in taking lithics from submerged sites on the seabed and tossing them up on the land surface of the site and (6) the underwater archaeology that made it possible to trace the site of Aspros out in the water and to provide further documentation of the Epipalaeolithic age of the lithics at Aspros as well as their links, in the case of dive site C, with the south coast of Anatolia.

The last section considers some of the wider implications of the results of the fieldwork, including a discussion of the Younger Dryas, the cold snap at the end of the Pleistocene, and the emergence of early voyaging on a regular basis in the Eastern Mediterranean at that time.



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