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Turner Bequest excavations (Kourion): site A

Site A was an extensive cemetery located in a low-lying field between two watercourses in the coastal plain 0.8km east of the acropolis. Only three days was spent examining the area, which revealed a few surface graves (called mnemeia in Greek) along with half-a-dozen chamber tombs (Tombs 1 to 6) at a deeper level. The chamber tombs contained a great amount of locally made pottery of ‘Graeco-Phoenician’ (that is, Cypro-Geometric and Cypro-Archaic) date, c. 1050–475 BC.

Part of this cemetery, in a field known as Kaloriziki-Mersinoudhia, was excavated in the 1930s by P. Dikaios, Curator of the Cyprus Museum and then by J. Daniel and G. McFadden of the University of Pennsylvania expedition to Kourion.[1]  This provides a well documented sample of burials from the very end of the Late Bronze Age (Late Cypriot IIIB, Tomb 40), throughout the Cypro-Geometric (CG) and Cypro-Archaic (CA) periods down as late as Cypro-Classical I (c. 475/450–400 BC) which is represented by a single tomb (no. 31). The CG material was particularly rich, especially in metal goods and pottery, only echoes of which are found in the more meagre sample retained by the British Museum excavators. The famous Kourion sceptre, along with several lavish bronze objects of transitional LBA to Iron Age date confiscated by the local police in 1903, were once thought to have come from Tomb 40 of the Pennsylvania excavations, though this is far from certain.[2]

The Kaloriziki cemetery was probably the main burial ground for the élite of the Kourion area in the earlier part of the Iron Age after the decline of the LBA centre of Bamboula (Site D, below) and is important for understanding the origins and development of the Iron Age kingdom of Kourion in the first millennium BC.[3]

Introductions to the sites

Guide to the tombs from site A

  • ^ [1] - Dikaios 1933; Daniel 1937; Benson 1973; McFadden 1954; Benson 1960; Davies 1989; Steel 1996; Benson in Swiny 1982; Steel 1996.
  • ^ [2] - MacFadden 1954; Goring 1995.
  • ^ [3] - Buitron Oliver 1999.