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Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia


The Community landmarks

The Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia began to be excavated in 1936 by the then Commissioner of the Department of Antiquities, Porphyrios Dikaios, while from 1976 a French archaeological expedition under the direction of AlainLe Brun continued the excavations.

 The settlement is built on the steep slope of a hill located on the west bank of the river Maroni, 6 km from the sea. It is one of the most impressive examples of early permanent settlement of populations on the island. In the west, where the settlement is not naturally fortified, a wide fencing wall was erected. Its construction presupposes a collective effort, which implies a complex social organization.

 The inhabitants of Choirokoitia lived in circular buildings of which the lower part of the walls, which were made of stone, is preserved. The top was made of clay, straw, bricks and stones. The roofs were flat and made of wood, branches, straw and soil. As it emerged from the excavations, a house is defined as the concentration of many such circular buildings around a small courtyard where there is a mill for the milling of seeds. The dead were buried in pits inside the houses. In many cases they are accompanied by everyday objects such as stone vases and necklaces made of sea shells and stone beads.

 The nutritional needs of the inhabitants were covered by breeding animals, hunting, agriculture and wild fruit collection. The tools they used were made of stone and bones. Many stone utensils and figurines depicting mainly human figures have also been found.

 The inhabitants of the settlement processed the diabase, a hard stone, for the construction of stone vases, which are a special feature of the Cypriot pre-ceramic period (7000-5200 BC). For the manufacture of jewelry, picrolite was used, a greenish soft stone, which is in abundance in the riverbed of Kourris, west of Limassol.

 The settlement of Choirokoitia, like other settlements of the pre-Ceramic era, was suddenly abandoned. Over time the area was re-inhabited during the Neolithic period, when man was now familiar with ceramic art (5000-3900). From this period, no architectural traces are preserved in Choirokoitia. Choirokoitia was included in the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection for three main reasons:

            It is the most important archaeological site of the Neolithic period that reflects the spread,

            permanent settlement, and

            the role played by Cyprus in the transmission of Neolithic civilization from the eastern Mediterranean to the West ( 7th mm – 4th mm BC).


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