The Late Bronze Age settlement of Pyla-Kokkinokremos has, since its discovery in the early 1950s, occupied a prominent position in the debates surrounding the “collapse” of Bronze Age Mediterranean societies c. 1200 BC. The short-lived character of the site (founded towards the end the 13th c. BC and abandoned during the first quarter of the 12th c. BC), its exceptional “casemate” architecture reminiscent of Aegean defensible settlements (Kastrokephala, Malthi-Dorion), as well as its extraordinary material culture – including Minoan, Mycenaean, Sardinian, Levantine and Anatolian ceramic products – all contributed to give the site its particular status in the Late Cypriot IIC-IIIA settlement landscape. In 2014, Prof. Joachim Bretschneider (KU Leuven, now UGent), Prof. Jan Driessen (UCL-AegIS) and Dr Athanasia Kanta (Mediterranean Archaeological Society) inaugurated a new excavation project at Pyla-Kokkinokremos following earlier successful investigations by Dr Porphyrios Dikaios (1952), Prof. Vassos Karageorghis (1981-1982, 2010-2012) and Dr Anathanisa Kanta (2010-2012). The project (“C-PEPL – Cyprus Pyla Excavation Project Louvain/Gent”), framing into the ARC “A world in Crisis?” at UCL and the IAP 7 “Greater Mesopotamia” at KU Leuven and UCL, hopes to address the following research questions:
– How can new excavations at Pyla-Kokkinokremos shed new light on the site’s surprising mix of material culture?
– Was the plateau entirely built or did it also include fields, gardens or animal enclosures?
– Can we demonstrate the existence of a continuous “casemate” wall around the plateau?
– What is the relationship between Pyla-Kokkinokremos and other contemporary sites in the Larnaca Bay (Kition, Hala Sultan Tekke)?
– How did environmental and climate fluctuations towards the end of the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean influence the organization of subsistence activities at Kokkinokremos (water collection, agriculture) and impact the evolution of the landscape surrounding the site?
The first excavation campaign of the C-PEPL project took place between 25 October-16 November 2014.