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Kastros is an early Neolithic settlement in the Turkish occupied areas of Cypru

Location

It lies at the north-easternmost tip of the Karpasia Peninsula (Cape Apostolos Andreas), about 4 km north of Apostolos Andreas Monastery. The settlement is situated on a little plateau at the steep flank of the limestone promontory, about halfway between the main plateau of the peninsula and the sea in a very inaccessible situation.

History of excavations

Between 1970-1973 three campaigns of excavations have been conducted by a French team headed by Alain Le Brun. The excavation was interrupted by the Turkish invasion in 1974. Today, the structures remain open to the sky and are slowly eroding.

Houses

The settlement consists of small round or roundish houses. Their diameter is between 2.5 and 2.8 m, which gives a living surface of between 5 and 6.8 m². The houses contain a hearth and sometimes countainer-bins in the floor. The walls are thin, composed of a single course of dry stone walling. Sometimes several of these are arranged around a common courtyard stand on small platforms levelled into the hillside. Only one house has a more substantial wall (1.70 m thick) and the excavator thinks it might have had a function different from the rest of the structures.

Other structures

There are some small pits filled with charcoal and burned stones. Maybe they had been used to prepare food or smoke meat, in the manner of the Polynesian pit ovens and the Irish Fulachta Fiadh.

Burials

One burial was discovered in a shallow trapezoidal pit measuring 0.75x0.45 m. The body lay on the back, with flexed legs, the head to the northeast, the face turned to the southeast. This type of burial is well known from Khirokitia as well (group II). The burial was situated near a house, but at the outside, in contrast to Khirokitia, were all burials are situated inside the houses. The grave contained four small shells with drilled holes and one dentalium shell.

Dating

The site belongs to the aceramic Neolithic (PPN B) and dates to the 6th Millennium BC. There are three radiocarbon dates from the site (uncalibrated):

MC-803, pit 549, 4190 BC ± 200

MC-805, occupation surface, 5825 BC ± 125

MC-807, occupation surface, 5500 BC ± 120

Finds

The houses contain quernstones. Further finds include stone-vessels (shallow bowls and pots) and flint tools made from local flint from the Besparnak mountains.

Economy

The carbonised remains of einkorn, emmer and some barley have been found. The relatively high proportion of rye-grass (Lolium sp.) has led van Zeist to suppose that it might not have been a weed, but grown as a crop. Among the pulses, lentils dominate, but peas, vetch and bitter vetch are represented as well. Pistachio, figs and olives, all of them wild forms, were part of the nutrition too.

Sources

Images Cyprus, Famagusta District

Districts of Cyprus

Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece

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