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The Aceramic Neolithisation of Cyprus – J.Watts (2013)

The Aceramic Neolithisation of Cyprus 

Jonathan Watts

3rd year BA Student Newcastle University


To examine the neolithisation of Cyprus it is first necessary understand the term. John O’Shea explains this concept as ‘the implementation of agriculture and the social and economic consequences of the adoption of domestic plants and animals’.[1] This concept is furthered by Özdoğan, who states how the elements of neolithisation have developed to include; ‘prestige and cult objects, architecture, the arrangement of settlements and the way of life.’[2] Whilst these definitions are predominantly applicable to the Mesolithic-Neolithic transitions of mainland Europe, they will be used here in the context of the colonisation of Cyprus. These aspects of the Neolithic package will provide both markers to identify what features of the Neolithic initial colonisers brought with them and also to understand how these societies developed, as a result of insular advances or exogenous contact. It should be noted here that Cyprus was colonised first by an Aceramic Neolithic culture and later by Neolithic migrants who introduced ceramics to the island. This essay will examine the Aceramic neolithisation of Cyprus.

Firstly, a brief examination of past perceptions of the Cypriot Neolithic will take place to highlight the skepticism surrounding an antecedent culture to the Khirokitia Phase.[3] In turn, focus will be placed on the early Holocene site of Akrotiri Aetokremnos and how, whilst not Neolithic, this evidence of visitation pushes back our understanding of seafaring, migration and the chronology of occupation on Cyprus. Work completed by the Elaborating Early Neolithic Cyprus field project (EENC) will be examined here, along with their provisional notions of a Cypriot PPNA occupation. The recent discoveries of pre-Khirokitian Aceramic Neolithic sites, referred to as the Cypro-PPNB, will then be examined. Here it will be highlighted how these settlements, notably Shillourokambos and Mylouthkia, have filled an archaeological lacuna in the chronology of Cypriot occupation and provided evidence for the ‘antecedent hypothesis’.[4]  The Late Aceramic Khirokitia Phase will then be examined to assess the extent of insular development on Cyprus and of the culture’s break from mainland Neolithic practices. Finally, it is important to note that throughout this essay, discussion will take place on the extent to which the study of the Aceramic neolithisation of Cyprus has led to a re-evaluation of mainland chronologies and assemblages.


Just over twenty years ago it was advocated by academics, notably Le Brun (1989) and Stanley Price (1977), that there was no evidence of a human presence on Cyprus before the appearance around the 7th millennium BC of an Aceramic civilisation known today as the Khirokitian Culture. Whilst at the time these notions were based on contemporary archaeological evidence, the discoveries and interpretations made since then have radically changed and pushed back in time our understanding of initial human activity on Cyprus and of the islands’ neolithisation.

Akrotiri Aetokremnos, similar sites and the Epipalaeolithic

In a series of excavations in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Alan Simmons provided the first evidence for pre-Neolithic human activity on Cyprus, dated to c. 10,000 cal. BC. Aetokremnos, located on the southern peninsula of Akrotiri has provided a wealth of archaeological evidence offering insight into the activities practiced by these visitors, their subsistence diet and their duration of occupation.[5] In spite of the contention surrounding interpretations of evidence; namely the precision of Simmons’ initial radiocarbon dates and the utilisation of the discovered pygmy bones from strata 2 and 4,[6] the archaeological evidence from Aetokremnos indicates a purposive utilisation of the Cypriot pre-Neolithic landscape and periodic occupation of the island. This develops our understanding of Epipalaeolithic seafaring and highlights the probable origin of these visitors, the Levantine coast.[7] I feel it is important to highlight here, the semantic disputes over the meanings of ‘occupation’ and ‘colonisation’ present in the academic literature and propose clarity of definition so definitive conclusions can be drawn in future studies. Colledge and Conolly state how ‘it is not unexpected that the first permanently inhabited settlements on the island were preceded by earlier, archaeologically invisible, visitations’[8], and provisional evidence of further coastal visitations has come to light at Nissi Beach and Akamas Aspros.[9] However, despite assemblage affinities with Aetokremnos and similar provisional radiocarbon dates, Simmons and Mandel stress caution when attaching these sites to the Akrotiri Phase.[10]

In addition to Epipalaeolithic coastal visitations, another new field project, Elaborating Early Neolithic Cyprus (EENC), is to move beyond the coastal or near-coastal Late Epipalaeolithic sites in order to examine the island’s wider landscape. Surveys and excavations are being conducted at Ayia Varvara Asprokremnos[11] and other inland sites and examinations reveal similar flake-based assemblages to Aetokremnos, Nissi Beach and Akamas Aspros. Additionally, these inland sites include new elements – ‘well-made drills and a clear dominance of double truncation – suggesting they are more evolved than their coastal counterparts’.[12] Asprokremnos, has been dated to be later – by up to 1000 years than Aetokremnos.[13] Does this, therefore, indicate a prolonged Epipalaeolithic occupation whereby the Akrotiri Phase is antecedent to early Neolithic sites of activity and occupation?  Simmons and Mandel tentatively suggest that with the documentation of the Cypro-Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) which will be discussed later, there may in fact be an unbroken sequence from the Akrotiri Phase to the Khirokitian Neolithic if research suggesting a PPNA occupation, at sites like Asprokremnos, can be verified.[14]

Thus, whilst the Epipalaeolithic sites are not directly relevant to the neolithisation of Cyprus, they have been included in this essay as their discovery is vital to our understanding of Cypriot prehistory and of our wider knowledge of pre-Neolithic seafaring and visitation. The Akrotiri Phase provides a start-point in the chronology of human occupation of Cyprus and as a result of work completed by the EENC, could become the antecedent for the entire Aceramic Neolithic sequence.

Closing the gap: Early Aceramic Neolithic sites in Cyprus

Cherry suggested that evidence belonging to the period between 11th millennium BP  Aetokremnos and the 8th/7th millennium BP Khirokitian might be found on low visibility sites that had escaped detection.[15] In the past decade, such sites have come to light and do not just close the void between these two phases of Cypriot prehistory, they provide evidence for the origin of the colonisers and of the aspects of the Neolithic Package they brought with them . Peltenburg states that ‘so strong are the connections of the colonists with the mainland that we suggest the term Cypro-Pre Pottery Neolithic B to describe what has hitherto been a major lacuna in Cypriot prehistory’.[16] Key features of Cyprus’ early neolithisation will be determined from the examination of early PPNB sites. As a result of this, a comparison will be able to be made between the aspects of Khirokitia and this early PPNB to establish the extent of Khirokitia’s insular development.

‘The site of Parekklisha Shillourokambos has for the first time in Cyprus provided evidence for an early phase of the Aceramic Neolithics, belonging to the second half of the 9th millennium cal. BC’.[17] The site can be split into two phases, Early phases A and B (8200 – 7500 BC) and the Middle and Late phases (from 7500 BC).  The Early phases can be characterised by deep wells and large wooden enclosures, probably for livestock, chert projectile points and large quantities of Anatolian obsidian.[18] The evidence from the Early phases can be paralleled almost identically to the Early PPNB in the northern Levant showing not just the probable origin of the initial settlers but also adding to our understanding of Anatolian obsidian trade and exchange networks as the obsidian evident at Shillourokambos most likely came with the settlers from their Levantine point of origin. Peltenburg notions how as early as the PPNA there is evidence of a network of trade linking social groups over large distances.[19]

The Middle and Late phases show considerable evolution evidenced by the appearance of ‘typically Cypriot cultural traits such as the use of local opaque chert, the production of robust blades and harvest knives and the paucity of obsidian’.[20] The architecture prevalent in these later phases of settlement is characterized by circular structures analogous to those of the Khirokitia Phase and directly comparable to the rectangular architecture dominant on the contemporary mainland. The two phases of Shillourokambos provide a case in point for the postulation of a later, endogenously developed Aceramic Neolithic on Cyprus. The first phase undoubtedly holds parallels to the mainland, whereas the second phase indicates reduced contact and an independently developing Neolithic with features similar to the Khirokitia Phase. A similar insight can be drawn from excavations at Kalavasos Tenta as evidence contemporary with early Aceramic phases at Shillourokambos can be demonstrated, along with a continuity of settlement right the way through to the Khirokitia Phase.[21]

The early Neolithic site of Mylouthkia also provides evidence of pre-Khirokitian occupation and neolithisation. Excavations have revealed five intricate wells, tapping the flow of small underground watercourses, a semi-subterranean structure and three pits belonging to the Aceramic Neolithic, AMS results from charred seeds in period 1B well 133 date it to the late 9th millennium BC. Assemblages from Mylouthkia, in particular the glossed tools, are similar to those from Shillourokambos and Tenta in showing links to the Asiatic PPNB.[22] Remarkably, the wells at Shillourokambos and Mylouthkia provide evidence for the transference of ritualistic aspects of the Neolithic from PPN southwest Asia. Peltenburg observes how one well at Shillourokambos contains a ‘contracted burial above cranial fragments of other individuals and that ‘five individuals are represented in Mylouthkia well 133’.[23] The evidence for the transference of ‘skull caching’ is tenuous, however, when considered in conjunction with associated Levantine and Anatolian PPNB assemblages it is not inconceivable to assume that these early Neolithic colonisers brought with them every facet of their mainland Neolithic, including the ritualistic.

In addition to their artefact assemblages, Shillourokambos and Mylouthkia also reveal important information regarding the subsistence practices of early PPNB communities on Cyprus. An archaeozoological analysis of the Shillourokambos bone assemblage indicated the presence of domestic dog, cat, domestic pig, Mesopotamian fallow deer and ‘predomestic’ sheep, goat and cattle, that were introduced to the island in the 9th/8th millennia BC.[24] The excavations at the site adds to our understanding of the neolithisation of Cyprus in a number of ways: Peltenburg states how fallow deer remained undomesticated in western Asia and that in a particular insular adaptation, the Neolithic Cypriot subsistence economies relied heavily on this imported species probably hunting them within a system of controlled game management.[25] This highlights an immediate pragmatic adaptation during early Cypriot neolithisation. Additionally, Vigne points out that the Shillourokambos assemblage demonstrates that the livestock, only recently herded (‘predomestic’) may have maintained the same skeletal morphology as their wild ancestors for a long time.[26] This adds a new dimension to bone assemblage analysis, particularly on Cyprus’ adjacent mainland, where a re-evaluation of evidence may be needed as the remains of both hunted wild and ‘predomestic’ herded animals are indistinguishable.[27]

Most importantly however, is that none of the species recorded at Shillourokambos are attested in the Pleistocene autochthonous faunal assemblages of Cyprus, which strongly suggests that they were introduced to Cyprus by Aceramic inhabitants from the mainland.[28] In this vein, Vigne also comments on the striking appearance of Cattle at Shillourokambos as the species was thought to have been introduced very late to the island, not before the Early Bronze Age.[29]

The wells at Mylouthkia yield evidence for the appearance of domesticated plants from the earliest PPNB phase. There is evidence in the form of charred grains and chaff of the three ‘founder crop’ cereals.[30] Peltenburg et al. state how to date, the progenitor species of domestic einkorn, emmer, hulled barley, wild emmer and wild barley have not been recorded in the archaeobotanical assemblages from Cypriot sites.[31] As a result, this clearly demonstrates the complete introduction of domestic crops from the mainland during the EPPNB, rather than the indigenous development of crop-based subsistence on the island. In addition to testifying to exogenous neolithisation, the appearance of these ‘founder crops’ supports Zohary’s model[32] for a single or limited number of cereal domestication events occurring in the south-central Levant and possibly southeast Turkey by the early 10th millennium BC, as links to these areas have already been drawn by assemblage parallels. In supporting Zohary’s paradigm, the evidence on Cyprus does not favour model[33] of multiple origins for cereal domestication. This appearance of founder crops and fauna, unattested to on Cyprus prior to the Cypro-PPNB, unequivocally demonstrates the exogenous neolithisation of pre-Khirokitian Cyprus and the ‘precocious migration of farmers from the Levantine mainland’.[34]

It is clear from the similarities in lithic technology, the transfer of ritual ideals and the appearance of agriculture and animal husbandry, that the pre-Khirokitian Neolithic was established by the migration of southwest Asian PPN communities to Cyprus. However, problems have arisen when likely points of origin and motives for relocation are suggested. These problems largely relate to the known chronologies of the mainland PPN cultures and their geographical locations. Peltenburg et al. highlight how to the north, current dates for the Anatolian Aceramic Neolithic are either too late for links to be drawn to Cypro-PPNB sites, or that contemporary sites are too far away and located on the Central Plateau.[35] Despite this, Şevketoğlu brings to our attention the 9th millennium BC, Cypro-PPNB site of Akanthou.[36] He insists that Akanthou’s geographic position and the large volume of Anatolian obsidian blades recovered from the site proves the likelihood of Cypro-Anatolian interaction. In this vein, should the radiocarbon dates from Cypro-PPNB sites result in a re-examination of the Aceramic Anatolian chronology? Or, could it just be that the Anatolian obsidian present at Akanthou was part of the exchange network advocated by Peltenburg et al. mentioned earlier in this essay?[37]

Peltenburg et al. suggest the probable source of the colonisers as western Syria, as this is where the closest parallels for the Cypro-PPNB are found.[38] However, this in itself presents problems since the nearest attested PPNA/EPPNB sites that could have served as population sources are found in the Levantine corridor, over 200km inland (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1. Map showing the distance from the Levantine Corridor to the Mediterranean and Cyprus (last accessed 09/01/2013)

Fig. 1. Map showing the distance from the Levantine Corridor to the Mediterranean and Cyprus 2010/12/ levantine-corridor.html (last accessed 09/01/2013)

It is therefore unlikely that people who lived so far inland would have the knowledge of Cyprus and the maritime expertise or technology to reach the island and establish self-sustaining settlements. Knapp and Colledge et al. postulate that PPNB agriculturalists did live along the Levantine or Cilician coastal plains and that various factors have made it impossible to demonstrate the existence of a Levantine PPN Mediterranean village that may have served as a jumping-off point for the earliest agropastoral settlers of Cyprus.[39]  These factors range from invisibility of the settlements as a result of rising sea levels, to the ephemeral nature of the sites themselves. An intensive underwater survey would offer the best solution to finding these submerged settlements. If evidence were found it could provide the vital missing link to the already evidenced exogenous neolithisation of pre-Khirokitian Cyprus. Knapp proposes that the permanent settlement of Cyprus may have been sparked by climatic and environmental stress, evidencing the ‘climatic-forcing mechanism’ of the Younger Dryas.[40]  Peltenburg et al. also attest to changing environmental factors in highlighting sporadic sea-level changes on the Levantine coast.[41] In addition to this environmental stress, social factors are attributed to initiating PPNB migration to Cyprus. Bar Yosef evidences the rapid population increase during the PPNA as a cause for communities establishing new communities in unpopulated areas, away from emerging hierarchies and ‘social inequality’.[42]

We have seen therefore, that in the later 10th/9th millennium BC, communities with strong Levantine PPNB affinities existed on Cyprus.[43] An examination of the assemblages recovered from these Cypro-PPNB sites indicate the features of the ‘Neolithic Package’ that were brought with the PPN group(s) and allow new interpretations to be made. The origin of the colonisers is evident from artefact assemblages and ritual deposits. The introduction of domestic crops and fauna hitherto unattested in Cypriot prehistory demonstrate one of the earliest successful overseas migration of farmers. The evidence also adds to our limited understanding of the early Neolithic relationship between humans and animals in that we see which fauna was transported to Cyprus and how they developed and were utilised. Peltenburg et al. state how this newly unfolding testimony indicates that immigrant groups with links to the later Khirokitian had colonized Cyprus undeniably providing support for the antecedent development hypothesis.[44] The recently emerged, Cypro-PPNB culture has therefore proven the full extent to which neolithisation occurred on early pre-Khirokitian Cyprus. ‘It is no longer possible to claim that Cyprus was the poor stepchild of the Neolithic, receiving only culturally deprived hand-outs from infrequent mainland contacts’.[45]

Khirokitia-Vounoi and the Late Aceramic Neolithic

The Khirokitia Phase, dated from the 8th millennium BC represents the developed culture, architecture, domesticated animal bones, plants and stone tool assemblages of the Late Cypriot Aceramic period.  Le Brun regards the Khirokitia Phase as the apogee of the Aceramic sequence on Cyprus prior to its mysterious collapse and disappearance c. 5,500BC.[46] Whilst Early Aceramic Cyprus had numerous similarities with PPNB Levantine settlements, evidence demonstrates that Late Aceramic Cyprus lagged behind its counterpart societies on the mainland. While the Levantine settlements used pottery, cattle and rectangular housing between 7,000-5,000 BC, the Khirokitian Culture lacked pottery, cattle and constructed circular housing. Furthermore, signs of outside relations are non-existent on the island during this period. Previously thought of as the beginning of human occupation on Cyprus the ‘alien’ assemblages recovered from Khirokitia bedeviled attempts to account for its origins.[47] It is now apparent that it is the end product of a three-millennia-long Aceramic sequence that began with the Cypro-PPNB. So to what extent did the Khirokitia Phase develop endogenously, what were its key features and how does this affect our understanding of the neolithisation of Cyprus?

The lithic assemblages recovered from Khirokitia provide evidence of insular development. Hadzi-Andonov describes the lithic industry as ‘a peculiar type, not microlithic and with no parallels to the mainland’.[48] Astruc in her analyses defines the lithic industry as an ‘original reduction sequence locally invented by employing available chert sources’ and ‘based on blades made from local raw material’.[49] The paucity of recovered obsidian additionally shows reduced exogenous contact. The evident changes to the lithic assemblages indicate a changing aspect of the Cypriot Neolithic that appears to be one of many insular cultural characteristics that developed concurrently to the disappearance of elements of near-east tradition.

Legrand-Pineau identifies further breaks from the Cypro-PPNB and Near-East traditions.[50] She notes how ware made from stone appeared at Khirokitia where ceramics were already known on the contemporary mainland. Hadzi-Andonov states how an effort was made to produce clay pots evidenced from the lowest building levels of Khirokitia, without apparent success.[51] Nevertheless, the polished stone industry was highly developed. Spouted stone bowls of greenish-grey andesite – a local stone – and shallow dishes of round, square or oblong shapes are the most common forms (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Spouted bowl and basin made from andesite (last accessed 09/01/2013)

Fig. 2. Spouted bowl and basin made from andesite the_aceramic_period.htm (last accessed 09/01/2013)

The presence of a number of spindleworls and a large proportion of bone pins and needles is shown by data from two sites from the late Aceramic Neolithic in Cyprus, Khirokitia and Cape Andreas Kastos.[52] They offer insight into the dress of these Neolithic people. Astruc’s analysis indicates minimal tanning activity at Khirokitia, instead he suggests that the paucity for hide-working reflects the use of other substances for making material.[53] The large quantity of tools associated with the making of textiles from Legrand-Pineau’s study supports this theory.

With regard to subsistence practice, there are a few notable changes that more than likely occurred as a result of the island’s insularity during the Final Aceramic Neolithic. Firstly, there is no evidence for the presence of cattle in the Khirokitia Phase? The bone assemblages from early phases at Shillourokambos show cattle were present on the island and not just as imported joints of meat.[54] So did cattle fall out of favour, if so are we seeing the result of a new cultural and status relationship with animals? Or did the reduction in contact with the mainland result in the stock dying out? Broodbank and Strasser offer details of the requisite number of livestock needed to sustain a colonising population.[55] An analysis of the bone assemblage at Shillouorokambos with this agenda would need to take place to answer this fully.  The second notable point is postulated by Le Brun and Watkins.[56] They indicate that at Cape Andreas Kastros fallow deer became more and more important to the site’s subsistence economy over time and evidence for ovi-caprids diminishes. From this they suggest that the over-hunting of fallow deer and the reduction in the available ovi-caprids could be a reason for why the Final Aceramic settlement was so relatively short-lived. Evidence of grinding-stones, querns and sickles are abundant at Khirokitia[57] and the cultivation of wheat, barley and lentils is evidenced as providing basic staple foods.[58] It is therefore clear that from the Cypro-PPNB to the Khirokitia Phase little changed in the way of available flora.

From the cranial analysis of remains across sites in the Levant and Anatolia, Pinhasi and Pluciennik have identified a ‘peculiar short-headedness’ among specimens from Khirokitia.[59] Whilst Hadzi-Andonov suggests that this could perhaps be evidence for a habit of cranial deformation it could also be strong evidence for inbreeding.[60] And so, whilst not a feature of the ‘Neolithic Package’ the morphological changes present among the Khirokitia specimens could demonstrate the extent of the insularity of the Aceramic Neolithic from the Cypro-PPNB to the Khirokitia Phase.

Le Brun states how despite its lack of external contact, Late Aceramic Cyprus was a well-structured society, this is evidenced by a number of social and structural developments that took place during this Phase.[61] Strategic locations were chosen, usually in proximity to rivers and atop hills, Khirokitia and Kalavasos Tenta being a case in point. A well-known structural feature of the Khirokitia Phase is the building of excessively large round stone houses ranging in diameter from 3 – 8 metres (Fig. 3).[62]

Fig. 3. Reconstructions of round stone houses at Khirokitia (last accessed 09/01/2013)

Fig. 3. Reconstructions of round stone houses at Khirokitia (last accessed 09/01/2013)

The solid construction and sheer size of the domestic structures at Khirokitia indicates considerable settlement duration. Notably, whilst these houses demonstrate a clear cultural separation from the mainland, Peltenburg et al. notion how round stone structures are evidenced at Shillourokambos showing a probable continuation and development of Cypro-PPNB traditions.[63]    

The burial practices performed at Khirokitia highlight the ritualistic, possibly religious aspects of the Late Aceramic Neolithic. Burials occurred underneath the floors of the houses and single, contracted burials appear to have been the norm.[64] Grave goods were deposited with the dead. Stone bowls are found, frequently ceremonially broken along with jewellery and figurines (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4. Burial at Khirokitia with stone bowls as grave goods (last accessed 09/01/2013)

Fig. 4. Burial at Khirokitia with stone bowls as grave goods (last accessed 09/01/2013)

Importantly, Nancy Demand attests to the presence of similar figurines found at Shillourokambos, suggesting that their presence at Khirokitia was a continuation of ritual practices that have links even before the Cypro-PPNB to the mainland Levant.[65] Demand offers explanations as to their ritualistic purpose postulating that of the two types of object; the figurines could have been used in ‘coming of age ceremonies or training devices in the inculcation of gender roles (dolls), (Fig. 5) whilst the incised pebbles may have served as ‘identity markers or as counting devices in trade transactions’.[66] It is clear from the burials, accompanying grave goods and anthropomorphic figurines that the Khirokitia Culture possessed a degree of ritualism or religion that to an extent can be paralleled back to the Cypriot Early Aceramic. In addition to this, the break in burial practices demonstrates a unique feature of Cyprus’ Aceramic neolithisation.

Fig. 5. Anthropomorphic stone figurine from Khirokitia (last accessed 09/01/2013)

Fig. 5. Anthropomorphic stone figurine from Khirokitia neolithic-villages/ (last accessed 09/01/2013)

 A large construction of stone and mud in the form of mud-bricks and pisé provides perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Late Aceramic community at Khirokitia. Previously identified as a street, academics now agree that a wall ran through the centre of the settlement.[67] Le Brun further states how the houses built on both sites of the wall demonstrates the site expanded over time and that a second wall is apparent, enclosing the new domestic structures (Fig. 6).[68] So how can the enclosure of the settlement be interpreted? Clearly, the wall shows a degree of communal organisation, a creation of public works for the good of the community. Ian Hodder’s theory on the psychology of domestication could provide answers here.[69] Hodder proposed a separation between the Domus (domestic) and the Agrios (wild) and no more so could this separation be demonstrated than by the large physical presence of the wall.[70] And so perhaps, the building of Khirokitia’s wall was purely symbolic. This could be supported by the fact that no evidence has been found demonstrating violence around the wall, provisionally eliminating its role as defensive. Thus, the Khirokitian wall does not just show an architectural development in this Late Aceramic community, but could also highlight an ideological change in the perception of the world. Both of these demonstrate changes over time from the Early Aceramic cultures of Cyprus to those of the Khirokitia Phase.

Fig. 6. Site plan from Khirokitia showing the two walls and extended settlement between Le Brun, A. (1997). Khirokitia, a Neolithic Site. (Fig.48). (last accessed 09/01/2013)

Fig. 6. Site plan from Khirokitia showing the two walls and extended settlement between
Le Brun, A. (1997). Khirokitia, a Neolithic Site. (Fig.48). (last accessed 09/01/2013)


In this study a comprehensive overview of the Cypriot Aceramic Neolithic has been completed. Detailed examination of recent discoveries at Akrotiri-Aetokremnos and similar sites has pushed back our perceptions of human occupation on Cyprus to the Early Holocene. Pioneering work by the EENC has provisionally suggested a continuation from this Akrotiri Phase to the Khirokitian, if research can be verified. An examination of Early Aceramic sites has been undertaken, plugging the void in Cypriot prehistory from Aetokremnos to Khirokitia and providing strong evidence for an antecedent to the Khirokitia Phase. The examination of the Cypro-PPNB also provides conclusive evidence for links with the mainland and points of origin, despite the provisional work by the EENC. Just as important, evidence from Cypro-PPNB assemblages has provided us with key features from which a comparison can be made to show the extent of Khirokitia’s insular development. Knapp states how ‘we find on the main Cypro-EPPNB sites the coexistence of the ‘founder crops’ and managed or early-domesticated animals at a date equivalent to or even earlier than that at which they appear throughout southeastern Anatolia and the Levantine Corridor’.[71] And so it must also be taken into consideration that the recent archaeological work conducted on the Cypriot Early Neolithic has had wider repercussions for similar studies in the Levant and Anatolia. Finally, a consideration of the Khirokitia Phase provides us with extensive insight into the ways the Early Neolithic developed on Cyprus; socially, structurally and technologically. Knapp provides us with an important end-point with which to complete this analysis of the Aceramic Neolithisation of Cyprus pointing out that the pace of change in the study of both the Late Epipalaeolithic and earliest Neolithic is such that all current interpretations must remain open-ended.[72]


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[1] O’Shea  2011, xi

[2] Ozdogan 2011, 416

[3] Stanley Price 1977

[4] Peltenburg et al. 2001

[5] Simmons 1991

[6] Cherry 1990, Ammerman and Noller 2005, Simmons and Mandel 2007, Knapp 2010

[7] Knapp 2010, 91-92

[8] Colledge and Conolly 2007, 53

[9] Ammerman and Noller 2005, Ammerman et al. 2011

[10] Simmons and Mandel 2007, 8

[11] McCartney et al. 2007, 30-36

[12] Knapp 2010, 98

[13] McCartney et al. 2007, 31

[14] Simmons and Mandel 2007, 2

[15] Cherry 1990, 194

[16] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 844

[17] Guilaine and Briois 2001, 37

[18] Guilaine and Briois 2001, 37-38

[19] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 851

[20] Guilaine and Briois 2001, 37-38

[21] Todd 2001, 95

[22] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 844-848

[23] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 849

[24] Vigne 2001, 55, Peltenburg et al. 2000, 850

[25] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 851

[26] Vigne 2001, 57

[27] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 850-851

[28] Vigne 2001, 55

[29] Vigne 2001, 57

[30] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 61

[31] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 850

[32] Zohayr 1996

[33] Wilcox 2011

[34] Peltenburg et al. 2001a, 61

[35] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 851

[36] Şevketoğlu 2006, 119

[37] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 851

[38] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 851

[39] Knapp 2010, 107-110; Colledge et al. 2004, 41

[40] Knapp 2010, 105-111

[41] Peltenburg et al. 2001b, 38-39

[42] Yosef 2001, 129; Zilhao 2001, 14180

[43] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 851

[44] Peltenburg et al. 2001a, 61

[45] Simmons & Mandel 2007, 8

[46] Le Brun 2001, 119

[47] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 852

[48] Hadzi-Andonov 2000, Last accessed: 04/01/2013

[49] Astruc 2002, 148

[50] Legrand-Pineau 2010, 8

[51] Hadzi-Andonov 2000, Last accessed: 04/01/2013

[52] Legrand-Pineau 2010, 8

[53] Astruc 2002, 147

[54] Vigne 2001

[55] Broodbank and Strasser 1991

[56] Le Brun and Watkins 1990, 103-104

[57] Hadzi-Andonov 2000, Last accessed: 04/01/2013

[58] Astruc 2002, 147

[59] Pinhasi and Pluciennik 2004, 59-82

[60] Hadzi-Andonov 2000, Last accessed: 04/01/2013

[61] Le Brun 2001, 110-112

[62] Hadzi-Andonov 2000, Last accessed: 04/01/2013

[63] Peltenburg et al. 2000, 850

[64] Hadzi-Andonov 2000, Last accessed: 04/01/2013

[65] Demand 2011, 30-31

[66] Demand 2011, 31

[67] Le Brun 1997, 10

[68] Le Brun 2001, 111-112

[69] Hodder 1990

[70] Hodder 1990, 50

[71] Knapp 2010, 110

[72] Knapp 2010, 111


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