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History of excavation continued

Modern times

The Maroni valley continued to attract the attention of archaeologists during the 20th century. New material was discovered by the Cyprus Survey but also as a result of rescue excavations, particularly in advance of development work. The important Aceramic Neolithic (seventh and sixth millennia BC) settlement of Khirokitia-Vouni overlooking the modern highway was first explored by Porphyrios Dikaios of the Cyprus Museum in the 1930s and 40s and later by a French team from the 1980s onwards.[15]  Earlier Bronze Age tombs have been found around Psematismenos and Maroni, while numerous tombs of Cypro-Archaic (CA) date have been excavated around the villages of Khirokitia and Mari.[16] 

Development work began to threaten the area of the British Museum excavations from the late 1970s and spurred more organised fieldwork. This included the excavations at Maroni-Vournes directed by Dr Gerald Cadogan and the British School at Athens, whose site was initially endangered by the new highway (though this was later rerouted further to the north) and other developments.[17]  The publication of Jane Johnson’s comprehensive study of the archaeology of the area, which provided the first detailed survey of the British Museum discoveries of 1897–8, also drew attention to the richness of the LBA remains in particular.[18]

Large-scale expansion of housing and, latterly, tourism has placed further pressure on archaeological sites, especially on the coastal strip. As a result, numerous rescue excavations have been undertaken by the Department of Antiquities, as well as by the various foreign teams working in the area during their research seasons. Most important is the Maroni Valley Archaeological Survey Project (MVASP) directed by Dr Sturt Manning, which combined excavations at Tsaroukkas with surveys of both the surrounding countryside and the seabed.[19]

Modern archaeology has uncovered a much wider chronological and functional range of sites compared to the rather narrow interest of the 19th-century British Museum team, who ignored settlement remains and rapidly passed over sites of later date. This has revealed a rich historical sequence of human occupation in the region in antiquity, from the important Aceramic Neolithic site of Khirokitia-Vouni mentioned above to the Late Roman site of Maroni-Petrera near the modern village.[20]  A similar picture has emerged from equally extensive fieldwork in the area explored by the Vasilikos Valley Project to the west, where a combination of survey and excavation has produced evidence for human activity from Early Neolithic down to early Byzantine times.[21]

Map of southern Cyprus between the Pendaskinos and Vasilikos valleys (Cadogan et al. 2001, fig. 1; image courtesy of G. Cadogan)

  • ^ [15] - Dikaios 1936; Le Brun 1997; Le Brun 2001 (with references); Todd 1985; Georgiou 2000; ibid. 2001; Webb et al. 2007 (with references).
  • ^ [16] - Flourentzos 1985 and note 1.
  • ^ [17] - Cadogan 1983.
  • ^ [18] - Johnson 1980.
  • ^ [19] - Manning et al. 1992; Manning and De Mita 1997; Manning et al. 2002a, Manning et al. 2002b, iv–v (with refs).
  • ^ [20] - Le Brun 1997; Le Brun 2001; Manning et al. 2002b, See the annual Chronique des fouilles in the Bulletin de Correspondence Hellénique for summaries of rescue excavations and casual finds in this area.
  • ^ [21] - Todd 2004; South 1995; Hadjicosti 1997.