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Title: Cypriot archaeological sites in the landscape : an alluvial geo-archaeological approach
Author: Deckers, Katleen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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Only little geo-archaeological work has been undertaken on Cyprus since Vita-Finzi (1969) developed the two-tiered model for landscape evolution in the Mediterranean. However, a new more differentiated, better dated model is necessarily for Cyprus. Understanding the limitations geologic processes impose on the archaeological record is imperative for gaining insight in settlement patterns. Moreover, the alluvial archive on Cyprus also indirectly contains a hitherto unexplored variety of information on human impact on the landscape, climatic evolution, earthquakes and sea level changes. In a first part of the thesis, a hypothesis for landscape evolution is built, based on a study of literature on several variables that shaped the landscape on Cyprus: climate, sea-level, tectonic history and humans (subsistence economy, metallurgical activities and settlement history). It is concluded that the following periods are marked by a combination of factors favouring alluviation: the landnam of the Neolithic period, the Chalcolithic period, the Late Bronze Age, the Late Hellenistic and Roman period, the Frankish period and the Venetian period. In a second part, this hypothesis is tested through geo-archaeological fieldwork and laboratory sediment investigations. The fieldwork was carried out in Western Cyprus (Paphos Area) on river terraces of the Stavros-tis-Psokas, Dhiarizzos, Ezousas and Xeropotamos. The laboratory investigations consist of loss-on-ignition, magnetic susceptibility, pH, lithological identification, clast shape analysis and particle size analysis. The crux of this thesis is establishing an alluvial chronology. Besides typology and stratigraphy, a relatively new method of optically stimulated luminescence dating on 8 sediments and a thermoluminescence dating application on about 80 sherds is applied. Evidence was found of Early Prehistoric alluviation. Furthermore, alluviam from or post-dating the Iron Age, the Hellenistic and Roman period, the Byzantine period, the Frankish period, the Venetian period and Ottoman period was found. Subsequently, the landscape model is compared with the landscape development hypothesis based on the literature study and with the alluvial record from surrounding countries. As a consequence of this research, the causality of erosion and alluvation in Cyprus is better understood. Subsequently, the implications for the archaeological record are broadly discussed. Topics as archaeological settlements in the Cypriot landscape, impact of the environment on Cypriot humans and impact of humans on the environment are thoroughly explored. The Western Cypriot alluvial data indicate that site visibility at the modern surface is neither a reliable, nor a complete indication of what might still be present in the archaeological record.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available