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SUNY Research Foundation, Albany (Albany, NY 12222-0001)
Stuart Swiny (Project Director: November 2003 to April 2008)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$77,722 (approved)
$77,722 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 5/31/2007

Early Bronze Age Excavations at Sotira Daminoudhia, Cyprus

Excavation of a unique Early Bronze Age (ca. 2250 BCE) structure at Sotira Kaminoudhia, in Cyprus, to determine whether it was a ceremonial complex.

The goal of the project is to obtain through excavation additional information on the activities which took place inside a unique architectural unit on the outskirts of the Early Bronze settlement of Sotira Kaminoudhia. Prior fieldwork completely uncovered the four room complex, known as Unit 12, and yielded a wealth of information on its architectural arrangements and the objects it contained. The layout of the spaces, the eclectic array of finds and notable gaps in the repertory set this structure apart from all others excavated here or elsewhere on the island. Comparison of the data with slightly later Middle Bronze Age ceramic models and Late Bronze Age religious structures suggest that this was a ceremonial complex, the first ever recorded from Early Bronze Age Cyprus. Supporting evidence for this interpretation would become available through the study of the discarded debris which accumulated in the wide street outside, the only means of access to Unit 12. Unless this street is excavated and the finds carefully investigated, the ritualistic interpretation of Unit 12 will remain forever open to speculation and it will never be known whether this building housed a precursor of the fertility cults for which Cyprus was famous throughout the Greco-Roman world. One seven-week field season will suffice to collect the data for a multi-disciplinary six-week laboratory study the following year in preparation for publication of the results in a monograph series.