22 October – 16 November 2014

Pyla Kokkinokremos is the
name of a ca. 57 m high rocky plateau, about 800 m from the present southeast
coastline of Cyprus, located in the British sovereign base of Dhekeleia. It is
located some 10 km east of Kition and some 20 km southwest of Enkomi, two major
Bronze Age centres of the 13th-12th century B.C.,
the period known as Late Cypriot IIC and IIIA.

The site was explored at
three previous occasions: first by Dr. P. Dikaios in 1952, by Dr. V.
Karageorghis in 1981-1982 and, more recently, in 2010-2013, by Dr. V.
Karageorghis and Dr. A. Kanta. Its proximate region also formed the focus of an
intensive and systematic surface survey and geomorphological project by an
American team under the direction of W. Caraher since 2003, focusing on the
Roman and Late Antique occupation.

1: Area 5, view from the north

2: Excavating the stone
basin in Room 2

Based on these different
explorations, it can be assumed that the entire plateau of ca. 7 ha was densely occupied. Most telling is the excavation of part of a
regularly laid-out settlement in the eastern sector of which the outer
perimeter wall is assumed to have encircled the entire hill top plateau. The
repetition of residential units within the excavated zones seems to suggest
that the establishment of the settlement was a deliberate and planned
enterprise. Moreover, although some traces of fire were observed, the discovery
of material culture including several hidden hoards of precious metals
seems to suggest the planned and organised abandonment of the settlement. This
and the international character of its finds make it an exceptional site.
Moreover, during the 2010-2013 explorations in the west sector, a possible gate
was cleared close to which were found two tablets inscribed in
Cypro-Minoan
, fired intentionally (see: http://www.efsyn.gr/arthro/stin-pyla-oi-pinakides-eihan-rahi-san-ta-simerina-vivlia).

3: Prof. Vassos Karageorghis visiting
the Pyla excavation fall 2014 (with Dr. Athanasia Kanta & Prof.
Joachim Bretschneider)

Because of its limited
chronological occupation, its location and its specific material culture, Pyla
Kokkinokremos plays a major role in the discussion on potential Aegean
migrations to Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The aim of the new
excavations is to arrive at a better understanding of the nature of the Pyla
Kokkinokremos settlement structure, the reasons for its founding and the
circumstances of its desertion. At the same time, we want to understand its
regional and interregional context both where its socio-political landscape is
concerned and its environmental setting. We also hope that a better definition
of its material culture, especially where the ethnic mix is concerned, will
allow us a better grasp of its historical reality.

4: Unearthing the bronze hoard in Room 2

5: The bronze hoard in situ

Co-directors are Prof.
Dr. Joachim Bretschneider, University of Ghent & KU Leuven, Dr.
Athanasia Kanta, Mediterranean Archaeological Institute and Prof. Dr.
Jan Driessen, Université Catholique de Louvain.

The members of the 2014 KU
Leuven team included Joachim Bretschneider (co-director), Greta Jans, (archaeologist),
Anne-Sophie Van Vyve (archaeologist & PhD student), Pierre Van Hecke (philologist
– cuneiform writing), as well as Shanah Deboeck and Thomas Maréchal
(students).

6: Selection of objects of the bronze hoard

The 2014 excavation campaign by the University of
Leuven team focused on the eastern slope of the southern protrusion of the
Pyla-Kokkinokremos plateau (Area 5). Three weeks of excavation has uncovered a
total surface of 140 m2 and yielded surprising results.
Six architectural units have been partially excavated. A plausible outer or
casemate wall has been uncovered within a unique context. The architectural
features and installations – like a
plastered basin, a stone ‘basin’ and a hearth – as well as the numerous ceramic
and small finds – with a hoard
consisting of 30 metal objects – will
certainly enrich our knowledge concerning this unique settlement.

7: The drone above the excavation – Area 4

8: The drone in action

9: The Pyla 2014 team