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Ancient Rural Ecology and Landscape Formation on Cyprus


One of the most important legacies of early civilization is the establishment of the agricultural lifeways that have molded the natural and social landscapes we live in today. This multi-year project will reconstruct the development of Bronze Age agrarian life and the creation of human-impacted landscapes on Cyprus. We will begin with the detailed investigation of the Early/Middle Bronze Age site of Politiko Troulia to determine its potential to illustrate Bronze Age village life and agriculture that lie at the foundation of Cypriot civilization.

Our previous village-based research in Jordan reveals the economic influences of early cities on farming communities, which are accompanied by surprising elements of rural autonomy. Our coordinated paleoenvironmental investigations along the Jordan Rift illuminate the intriguingly pervasive and variable impacts of rural agriculture in the formation of Near Eastern landscapes. The significance of our new research lies in its rural perspective on agriculture and landscape formation, and its unique comparison of the development of rural agrarian life and associated environmental consequences on the island of Cyprus and the continental Near East.

At Politiko Troulia, we will conduct archaeological subsurface sensing and initial excavations. The goal of our initial fieldwork is to document the buried architecture and material remains of this early farming village in the greatest detail possible in preparation for expanded excavations in subsequent years. Specifically, we plan to use a combination of subsurface sensing and test excavation to assess Politiko Troulia's (a) archaeological depth, (b) architectural layout, and (c) stratification. In this regard:

(a) Estimation of sediment depths across the site, and floral and faunal recovery from test pits will allow us to identify the best site areas for good preservation of animal bones and plant remains, important sources of cultural ecological data;

(b) Plotting Troulia's household architecture will provide a sense of overall community structure from the outset and permit optimal sampling of identifiable households during subsequent field seasons; and

(c) Inference of stratified architectural remains will allow us to plan future excavations in areas best suited to show household change over time.

Research Team

  • Steven E. Falconer, Principal Investigator
  • Patricia Fall, Principal Investigator (ASU Geography)
  • Thomas Davis (Director, CAARI)
  • Mara Horowitz (Columbia University)
  • John Hunt (Limmasol, Cyprus)
  • Mary Metzger (U. North Carolina, Charlotte)

Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute
Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus

Sources of Funding
National Geographic Society ($25,000)

Presentations and Events
Final Report to Soil Systems, Inc., will be completed by August, 2005.

Falconer, S.E., P.L. Fall, T.W. Davis, M.T. Horowitz and J. Hunt. 2005.
Initial archaeological investigations at Politiko Troulia. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus.
Falconer, S. E. and P. L. Fall.
"Landscape Survey Investigations at Politiko-Troulia." Paper presented at the 23rd Annual CAARI Archaeological Conference and Workshop in Collaboration with the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus, June 2005.

Contact: Steven E. Falconer