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W. Caraher and R. S. Moore, PKAP: Recent Work at the Site of Pyla-Vigla

W. Caraher and R. S. Moore, PKAP: Recent Work at the Site of Pyla-Vigla

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Published by billcaraher
A paper delivered at the 2011 Annual Meeting of ASOR on recent research at Vigla on Cyprus.
A paper delivered at the 2011 Annual Meeting of ASOR on recent research at Vigla on Cyprus.

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Published by: billcaraher on Nov 01, 2011
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WORKING PAPER – DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM AUTHORS © 2011
 1
Pyla-
 Koutsopetria
Archaeological Project: Recent Work at the Site of Pyla-
Vigla
 William Caraher and R. Scott MooreDelivered at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research November 16-20, 2011San Francisco, CaliforniaOver the past eight field and study seasons the Pyla-
 Koutsopetria
Archaeological Projecthas systematically investigated the coastal zone of Pyla Village to document the evidence for human activity in this dynamic micro-region of Larnaka Bay. The PKAP study area hascompassed 101 ha extending inland from the coastal plain to the UN buffer zone around PylaVillage and the modern coastal highway. The dominant topographical features of the area aretwo abrupt coastal heights,
Vigla
and
 Kokkinokremos
, which form the plateau known locally as
Mavrospilos
or 
 Kazamas
. The narrow coastal plain extending from the base of these heights tothe foreshore is known as
 Koutsopetria
and the eastern part of this coastline is an infilled ancientembayment.
1
 My paper today will focus on the site of Pyla-
Vigla
which we documented throughintensive pedestrian survey (2006 and 2007), geophysical work (2007 and 2008), and excavation(2008 and 2009). The prominent coastal height is immediately visible to any traveler drivingalong the coastal road east from Larnaka at the border of the Dhekleia Sovereign Base Area. Thesteep slopes on the southern, western, and eastern sides of the hill emphasize the dramaticelevation (55 masl) of the plateau which offered an easily fortified coastal exposure. The
Vigla
 plateau connects to the larger 
Mavrospilos
/
 Kazamas
plateau by a relatively narrow isthmus.The top of the plateau itself slopes gently toward the southern side with the higher northern side possibly a result of collapsed buildings.

1
Caraher 
et al.
“The Pyla-
 Koutsopetria
Archaeological Project: First Preliminary Report (2003-2004 Seasons),”
 RDAC 
(2005), 248; V. Karageorghis and M . Demas,
 Pyla-Kokkinokremos: A Late 13th Century Fortified Settlement in Cyprus
(Nicosia 1984), ##.
 
WORKING PAPER – DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM AUTHORS © 2011
 2
Views from the height encompass the entire Larnaka Bay from Cape Kiti to Cape Pyla,which may account for the modern toponym of the site
Vigla
, the “watch post.” It is possiblethat this height is the place called
 Dades
in Ptolemy the Geographer’s description of Cyprus andlocated to the east of Kition, alluding to the use of torches to communicate the approach of shipsfrom lookout positions along the coast.
2
The strategic location of the height is suitable for amilitary installation, and a published a collection of inscribed lead sling pellets found by looterswould seem to confirm this.
3
Our work at the site has produced evidence for a fortification walland settlement of Hellenistic date that is most likely associated with a garrison.The initial research method used to document the archaeological remains from the Pylaregion was intensive pedestrian survey.
4
The field walking at
Vigla
produced exceptionally highartifact densities between 11,000 and 15,000 artifacts per ha.(fig. 2). The assemblage from thesurvey was also exceedingly diverse with our sample of 1,000 artifacts representing over 50different types of ceramics (chronotypes) spanning 16 periods. Abundant Hellenistic material inthe surface of 
Vigla
points to occupation during the important transition between the independentcities of the Cypro-Classical period and Roman control of the island.
Vigla
presented a robustand diverse assemblage of material that included large quantities of kitchen wares as well as finewares, amphoras, and medium coarse and coarse utility wares.The topography of 
Vigla
and dense carpet of artifacts made the plateau an ideal location for geophysical survey. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the PKAP team used electrical resistivity andground penetrating radar at the site. The geophysical work produced evidence for a number of 

2
Ptol.
Geog.
5.14
3
I. Nicolaou, “Inscriptiones Cypriae Alphadeticae XVI,”
 RDAC 
(1977), 209-216; I. Nicolaou, “InscriptionesCypriae Alphadeticae XVIII, 1978,”
 RDAC 
(1979), 344-351;I. Nicolaou, “Inscriptiones Cypriae Alphadeticae XIX,1979,”
 RDAC 
(1980), 261-262.
4
We have documented our methods extensively in our preliminary reports. See Caraher 
et al.
in
 RDAC 
2005 and2007.
 
 
WORKING PAPER – DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM AUTHORS © 2011
 3
 perpendicular lines running both north to south and at least two strong lines running east to westacross the height (fig. 3). These lines suggested the possibility of a monumental east-westoriented structure on the hill.In 2008 and 2009, PKAP received permission from the Cyprus Department of Antiquitiesto conduct limited soundings on the height of 
Vigla
in order to ground truth the results produced by geophysical work and intensive pedestrian survey. Over these two seasons, we excavatedfour trenches on the plateau over the course of two seasons: Excavation Unit 1, 2, 5, and 8 (fig.4, fig. 5, fig. 6). While all of these trenches were limited in extent, they provided significantinformation about the nature and phases of habitation at the site, and allowed us to move towarda cohesive site history for 
Vigla
. Excavations clearly articulated two substantial phases of occupation.The first occupation of the site (Phase 1) occurred in the Hellenistic period. This phase wasdocumented in all four trenches and represents an extensive use of the plateau. The earliestinhabitants of 
Vigla
removed the thin and uneven layer of soil covering the plateau andconstructed dry-stacked stone wall sockles directly on the exposed bedrock. The floors of thesemodest structures were packed earth without mortar or lime. The total absence of roof tiles fromthe trenches most likely indicate that the roofs were made of thatch and mud.The artifacts associated with Phase 1 represent a varied assemblage that points tooccupation and settlement. Excavations revealed significant amounts of utility and coarse wares,storage vessels (amphorae, pithoi), kitchen wares for food preparation, fine black-glazed andcolor-coated table ware for dining, kitchen ware, lamps, animal bone, and various implements,tools, and weapons (iron spit, lead plume, lead sling bullets). The occupants of the height

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