from:Maria Rosaria Belgiorno
"Short report of the first survey at Erimi/Kafkalla (October 2004)"- RDAC 2005, 225-229
The Erimi-Kafkalla archaeological site in Cyprus, on the right bank of the River Kouris, 4km from the seacoast,(fig.1) covers two hectares of land. High terraces and cultural layers are falling down towards the periphery, thus forming an extensive millenary sequence of settlements in the surroundings. The position of the site favoured permanent habitation, with a river and a valley connecting with the hinterland rich in minerals and ores, and fertile land. The geographical location of Erimi made its inhabitants mediators between the western and eastern villages distributed along the riversides of the Kouris; as far as the inland mountain settlements. Significant evidence of material culture evolution is mirrored in the number of the archaeological small sites distributed around the Kouris valley, inhabited since Neolithic period. The Erimi territory is peculiar, in archaeological terms, for the uninterrupted sequence of Neolithic and Copper Ages sites. Erimi is one of the first excavated Neolithic settlements in Cyprus (Dikaios 1935). The cultural layers of Erimi, excavated by Dikaios( fig.2-3) offer an unusually interesting stratigraphy of floor remains, containing many versatile objects: stone and bone tools and weapons, pottery for everyday use, decorated vases, some proto anthropomorphic figurines, simple jewellery of bone, shell and stone. Hundreds of items have been found in the tombs of the Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age, but most of them are still unpublished.
The Southern coast of Cyprus from the bay of Larnaca to Akamas promontory was densely populated in Neolithic period, hence the establishment of the first settlement at Khirokitia should be probably linked with a smaller group of colonists, who in search of free farming land and pastures, left the seafront lands between Anatolia and Palestinian through Cyprus. Although the settlement of those colonists was relatively long-lived, it is impossible to discover any new, specific expression for the study of their physical appearance and spiritual culture. The circular huts, grouped according to a system in the oldest settlements of Cyprus (Khirokitia, Kalavassos) have been adopted by the first Erimi inhabitants too. The first pottery typology bears clear reference to the older models of stone, meanwhile the decoration indicates that the proponents of the Erimi culture maintained relations with the inhabitants of the inland areas and the overseas coasts.
Available archaeological material implies that the first inhabitants of Erimi had good neighbourly relations both with the communities of the Kouris valley and of the south-eastern part of the gulf of Limassol. The oldest settlement of Erimi was neither fenced nor fortressed, and the relics of its houses are associated with the serene
domestic living of the inhabitants, whose daily life consisted mainly in making stone tools and ceramics, preparing food and tending their fields and animals. The population of the oldest settlement of Erimi, however, moved from the first site, at the end of Neolithic period, probably for the turbulence caused by the competition on the first copper production and trade, towards the valley and by maritime communication. The settlement was arranged not far from the first along the riverside. Within the time span of thousand years Erimi remained a village, with the same system of communication, but a different house distribution. Continuity of its culture is abundantly manifested in the tombs, and in reusing of stone tools. The community of the Bronze Age Erimi used to adapt their main activities to the local conditions. Thus, more attention was paid first to farming and stock — breeding and then to the metallurgy.
This was not, however, the discovery of the Erimi inhabitants but the consequence of new cultural knowledge that came from the continent, which pushed the people to search new material and copper minerals. The discovery of the metal spoiled the previous culture balances and changed the social relations based on the old traditions. The crisis generated by the introduction of metal, into a still predominantly agrarian environment formed probably new classes which contradicted the traditional way of life.
In cooperation and under permission of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus the Italian Archaeological Mission of Pyrgos/Mavroraki, during October 2004, has carried out the first season of survey on the area named Kafkalla (Sheet LIII Plan 53, 169NSX141EO) belonging to the village of Erimi (Limassol).
The territory is interesting due to a strong phenomenon of Karstification, which, in that point, (regards) involves all the Eastern fluvial terraces of the River Kouris.
The area is very eroded and peppered by many natural pots of Karst formation, which show traces of reutilisation since the Late Neolithic period. Beside there are deep cuttings and post holes belonging to huts and houses of different periods, but considering the high position of the terrace towards the riverside, it is difficult to believe that the settlement had been extensively inhabited after the beginning of the Bronze Age. Querns, pestles mortars and fragments of stone tools are abundant on surface, while pottery of any period is less represented.
The plots investigated are nrs°55, 382, 363, 362, 361, 360 (Map.1 and 2).
Interesting remains of an olive press located in the plots 55 and 382 had been cleaned and completely documented. (Photos. 1, 2, 3, and map 3).
The installation is composed by a crashing equipment, of the type named by Plinius the Senior “Canalis et solea” (Plin. Historia Naturalis xv). The canalis et solea is considered one of the most primitive olive press devices. It was a sort of squared tub, carved in the rock, in which it was possible to crush the olives with the solea , a sort of wood clogs, or rolling a heavy stone.
At one edge of the tub, there was an open spout cut on the rim pouring the water and the oil of the crashed olives into a deeper vat. Beside there were other remains of a traditional olive press.
The two installations are one in front of the other. The distance in between the two is only two meters. Each installation is oriented along the slope of the terrace in the direction of the riverside.
The olive press was connected, through an inclined drain, with a squared vat (0,80m. side, depth 0,60m.) to collect the liquids too. Both the collecting vats have an inner depression on the bottom (0,68m.), which had the function to help the cleaning of the basin.
Among the pottery sherds found in the filling soil of the vats there were two fragments of a large olive oil pithos jar of the Late Bronze and a stone biconical spindle whorl decorated with impressed circles of the same period.
This material suggests that the olive press was used for a long period, starting probably from the end of the Neolithic period, till the Late Bronze Age, after which the installation was eventually abandoned and never reused.
Considering the number of installation that remains distributed on the area of Kafkalla, it seems probable that this Karst terrace was mainly used for agricultural and industrial activities, while the inhabited centre was positioned on the lower terrace, nearer the river, where there is abundance of Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age pottery (Plots. 296, 354, 355, 356, 357).
The presence at Erimi of a prehistoric seasonal industrial placement testifies the remarkable expansion and use of experienced proto industrial systems linked with the evolution of the permanent settlement which for the uninterrupted continuity of life could be considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Cyprus.
Dikaios, P. 1939 “Excavations at Erimi 1933-1935 : Final Report.” Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, 1936. Department of Antiquities, Nicosia, pp. 1-81.
Bolger, D.L. 1988 Erimi Pamboula: QA Chalcolithic Settlement in Cyprus. British Archaeological Reports International Series 443. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.