The Skeletons are Behind us: Three Weeks in Cyprus

Post date: Apr 11, 2016 10:45:34 AM

Well, it’s hard to believe that it’s been just over 3 weeks since I came out to Cyprus. Time has flown by here at the Lemba Archaeological Research Centre and we’ve really covered a lot of ground. Lisa and I had a great time teaching the members of the local Paphos Third Age (P3A) group the basics of human osteological analysis and ceramic analysis.

It was a fun couple of days, and everyone who came was interested and engaged in the topics and getting a hands-on experience with archaeological reference material. Lisa did a fabulous job with training them up to recognise the local wares around Paphos.

Following our P3A workshop, HARP’s first (but definitely not its last) Bioarchaeology Fieldschool here at LARC was a great success. My thanks to the first cohort of HARP bioarchaeologists, Molly, Kecia and Tibor, who contributed their energy and enthusiasm for human skeletal material to two full weeks of training.

We started out looking at reference material and then, once they were comfortable with osteological terminology and cleaning of archaeological human bones, we were hosted by the Paphos District Museum for four days.

Their new-found bone identification skills were put to the test as they had to layout a skeleton and begin the process of writing a report and making inventories. It was a fun and successful few days at the Museum thanks to our Cypriot colleagues there and I look forward to working more with them in the future.

It wasn’t all work and no-play, we managed to get out to see several sites with mortuary features around the Paphos District, including to the site of Souskiou-Laona and Palaiapaphos. The tour of Tomb of the Kings by Paul was especially interesting as Paul’s unique insight from having excavated one of the tombs really brings it to life (no pun intended).

The two-weeks were capped off by an amazing end-of-project meal at the always impressive, Seven St. Georges restaurant in Geroskipou! Thanks again Kecia, Molly and Tibor for a great couple of weeks!

This past week, we’ve jumped right into our Introduction to Archaeology Fieldschool, Cyprus with a really nice, international group of students. We have five students from five different countries, each bringing their own unique experiences and background to the project to provide an interesting dynamic. So far we’ve been able to cover quite a bit of the basics of archaeological site recording, spending time drawing and photographing different aspects of a local site. As well, we’ve begun our experimental archaeology portion with some recording and de-construction of the kilns from HARP’s Bronze Age Beer Making fieldschools. We’ve been very lucky to have lots of help and insight from Lindy Crewe, from the University of Manchester and covered topics from the earliest Neolithic to the end of the Late Bronze Age in Cyprus.

We have a full programme of site visits and post-excavation analyses ahead of us this week. I’m looking forward to having Lisa back to talk about ceramic analyses and Paul will take us to some of the most impressive sites in the Paphos District!