Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Archaeologists find oldest evidence of Late Stone Age settlement on Cyprus

Date:
December 9, 2013
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Artifacts found at an archaeological site in Cyprus support a new theory that humans occupied the tiny Mediterranean island about 1,000 years earlier than previously believed -- a discovery that fills an important gap in Cypriot history.

Archaeology Centre research fellow Sally Stewart holds replicas of stone tools and decorative jewellery found on Cyprus dating back to the Late Stone Age.
Credit: Jessica Lewis

Artifacts found at an archaeological site in Cyprus support a new theory that humans occupied the tiny Mediterranean island about 1,000 years earlier than previously believed -- a discovery that fills an important gap in Cypriot history.

Excavations at Ayia Varvara-Asprokremnos (AVA) by archaeologists from the University of Toronto, Cornell University and the University of Cyprus have uncovered, among other objects, the earliest complete human figurine on the island. The site has been carbon-dated to between 8800-8600 BC, near the beginning of the Neolithic Period -- also known as the Late Stone Age -- when the transition from hunting to farming economies was occurring throughout the Middle East.

"This tells us that Cyprus was very much a part of the Neolithic revolution that saw significant growth in agriculture and the domestication of animals," says Sally Stewart, a research fellow at U of T's Archaeology Centre and Department of Anthropology. "With farming came a surplus of wealth, in both food and time. People now had the time to specialize in other roles such as manufacturing, and they had the time to spend making figurative art."

The figurine -- a complete female statuette -- was found in a collection of igneous stone objects that also included two flat stone tools, one with extensive red ochre residue. The presence of tools provides further evidence of significant manufacturing activity associated with the production of chipped stone instruments and the processing of ochre. It likely also explains the location of the site, which is adjacent to a chalk bed and large sulphite deposits.

Cyprus was always thought to have been permanently settled and following an agricultural lifestyle much later than the mainland areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. But with less than 100 kilometres in between, settlers could easily have crossed the water from what are now northern Syria, Turkey and Lebanon.

"People would have seen the mountains and they were likely attracted by the abundance of chert rock beds," says Stewart. "They were already using chert to make stone tools and would have wanted to exploit the resource."

The site at AVA was first discovered in the early 1990s. Similar sites were found in 1998 by Stewart and Carole McCartney of the University of Cyprus, and the preliminary analysis of objects found at them led McCartney to theorize that the items are older than previously thought. By 2005, Stewart, McCartney and Cornell University archaeologist Stuart Manning -- a member of U of T's Department of Art at the time -- began making plans to survey the site at AVA and eventually conduct a full excavation.

"With these discoveries we really are getting a clearer picture of how much was going on Cyprus," says Stewart. "We can no longer think of it as being on the fringe of what was happening across the region at the time."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. The original article was written by Sean Bettam. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Archaeologists find oldest evidence of Late Stone Age settlement on Cyprus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209142553.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2013, December 9). Archaeologists find oldest evidence of Late Stone Age settlement on Cyprus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209142553.htm
University of Toronto. "Archaeologists find oldest evidence of Late Stone Age settlement on Cyprus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209142553.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A 380-million-year-old fish may be the first creature to have copulative sex - and it was side by side with arms linked, like square dancers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1000-Year-Old Viking Treasure Hoard Found in Scotland

1000-Year-Old Viking Treasure Hoard Found in Scotland

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 14, 2014) A hoard of Viking artifacts dating back over 1,000 years is discovered by a treasure hunter with a metal detector in Scotland. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins