Heritage Fellow Ground Truthing on Cyprus

By: Micaela Carignano, 2012 Heritage Fellow

This summer, thanks to an ASOR Heritage Fellowship, I traveled to Cyprus to participate in the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments Project (KAMBE).  The project, led by Sturt Manning of Cornell University and Kevin Fisher from the University of Arkansas, focuses on several Late Bronze Age sites in southern Cyprus.  Most of the research has involved the use of geophysical techniques to survey the landscapes surrounding previously excavated LBA sites.

This season, I joined a group of students who worked alongside the geophysics team excavating some of the features that showed up in the survey data.  We started our work at the site of Maroni-Tsaroukkas, which was excavated by the British Museum in 1897, and later in the 1990s by a team led by Dr. Manning.  After some days of intense weeding to remove the thorny scrub that had grown since the last excavations, we opened small trenches immediately adjacent to those dug previously.  This was difficult because the excavators on the British Museum expedition had dotted the terrain with large pits in their search for intact ceramic vessels.  We were able to work around the pits to some extent, however.  In one trench where I worked, instead of finding the continuation of a Building 1 wall, as we expected, we dug through a thick red clay deposit that contained some of the earliest ceramics on the site—an exciting find!  Later we dug a test trench in a nearby hayfield, where we confirmed a feature found in the geophysics surveys.  Throughout the season we took turns helping to re-bag and re-tag dozens of crates full of finds from previous excavations and surveys that had been stored in a rat-infested shed for years.  This task culminated in an exciting trip to deliver the artifacts to the Larnaca Archaeological Museum, where they will fare much better in the future.

I greatly enjoyed my experience on the KAMBE excavation and my first trip to Cyprus.  It proved to be a beautiful island which I hope to revisit as I continue my graduate studies.  I am extremely grateful to the generous donors to the Heritage Fellowship and to ASOR for helping me travel to Cyprus and participate in this project.



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