July 29, 2019 - Catch up on the latest news from CAARI!

Dear : 
It's hot here in Cyprus.  And you'll see from our news that CAARI is hot, too.  June has been one of its most active months on record. The Director's Report will fill you in on three big public events, all of archaeological significance and all well attended.  Then Dr. Anna Spyrou will give you a closer look at her research as CAARI's first Peltenburg Fellow.  The Edgar Peltenburg Fellowship is the first postdoctoral fellowship created and funded wholly for CAARI itself, and we relish the power it gives us to support new, cross-disciplinary research like hers.  Before we go a step farther, we invite you to make a gift to the Peltenburg Fellowship fund, so we can assure its continuity:  www.caari.org/support. Third, we'll give you a glimpse inside CAARI's unique archival material. Dr. Brianna Bricker has been inventorying it, and reveals some of its unexpected treasures, even including a connection to Dame Agatha Christie.

Message from CAARI's Director

Dear friends and supporters of CAARI,

It has been a busy time in Nicosia with CAARI participating in three big, collaborative archaeology events over the month of June!

The first was ' The Archaeology of Cyprus and the Wider Mediterranean:  A Conference in Honour of A. Bernard Knapp ' held 6-7 June at the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus. The photo at the top of our news-flash shows the speakers at the event, including Bernard's long-term colleagues, students, and friends. Bernard himself gave a lovely response following the papers. CAARI trustee Professor Sturt Manning of Cornell University organized the conference in collaboration with the Archaeological Research Unit and CAARI. You can listen in if you'd like! The ARU has posted all the lectures on their YouTube page: www.youtube.com.

Happily, many visitors here for Bernard's conference stayed on for the next big event, the 38th Annual CAARI Archaeological Workshop  on Saturday, June 8. It was held in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, and the Archaeological Research Unit, and hosted at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation in Nicosia Old Town. The workshop was
Vathoulla Moustoukki, CAARI's Administrator for 40 years

standing-room only, with around 180 people in attendance, including archaeologists from Cyprus, the US, Australia and several European countries, as well as interested members  of the public. Especially welcome were some 100 undergraduate and graduate students from three big field teams working on the island: the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) project, Makounta Voules-Mersinoudia, and Athienou Malloura. It always makes the occasion to have the next generation of Cypriot archaeologists at the workshop, meeting both fellow students and established scholars. A special part of the day was presenting our long-term Executive Assistant, Vathoulla Moustoukki, with a silver CAARI bird plate for her forty years of service to CAARI!

The final June event was a two-day workshop for the sherd nerds amongst us! For the first time, a Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP) Workshop was held on Cyprus. This ASOR-sponsored initiative, directed by Professor Andrea Berlin of Boston University, aims to build a database of pottery from all time periods across the Levantine region. Take a look at the website here if you would like to know more about the LCP (www.levantineceramics.org). Joanna Smith and Matthew Spigelman helped bring the workshop to fruition. We took over the CAARI library, and thanks to Dr Despina Pilides of the Department of Antiquities, we also spent a morning in the ceramics conservation laboratory at the Cyprus Museum examining the pottery first hand. As Andrea Berlin told us,
Visitors from CAARI savor the exhibition of Picasso ceramics
when archaeologists working in this region find unusual or especially attractive pottery, they assume it must be Cypriot. So they need the Cypriot pottery specialists to add their material to the database! Cypriot potters through the ages have exhibited a creativity and skill that still inspires. This is confirmed by an exciting current exhibition. 'Picasso at the Cyprus Museum: Works in Clay' is an extraordinary collection of Picasso's ceramics alongside some of the Cypriot prototypes that inspired him. It is on until the 8th September so if you'll be coming to Cyprus it is a must see.

I've been excavating the Bronze Age at Kissonerga Skalia during July. Take a look at CAARI's instagram (caari_cyprus) and twitter (@CAARI­­_Cyprus) accounts for our news and keep an eye out for the press release in the coming month. Kalo kalokairi!

Lindy Crewe, PhD
Director, CAARI

Exploring the Human-Cattle Relationship in Prehistoric Cyprus: A Combined Archaeozoological and Isotopic Approach

Dr. Anna Syprou
Edgar J. Peltenburg Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cypriot Prehistory

Cattle have accompanied humans since the dawn of civilization, and in many environments became an integral element of human society. By supplying milk, meat and hides and by ploughing the fields they have become the most important domestic animal species. Moreover, their role in social networks, ceremonies and rituals has given them a central place in human culture, in spite of a human-animal relationship less affectionate than has been established with dogs or cats.

Domestic cattle (Bos taurus) have followed a particularly interesting and mysterious pathway on the island of Cyprus since their initial introduction. Weaned calves were probably transported from the mainland during the 8th millennium B.C. in boats. However, they disappeared soon after their initial introduction for reasons that remain poorly understood. Cattle reappeared during the mid-third millennium B.C. and since then they have conquered the island by participating in various economic and social activities and by providing the earliest form of capital. Even though we cannot fully address the question of why cattle disappeared, it is possible to look at several parameters, which can provide a deeper understanding of human-cattle interactions in prehistory. These include herd-management practices and local land use as well as the role of this large animal in exchange networks and large-scale feasting events. Stable isotopes will make it possible to address dimensions of prehistoric livestock management practices and mobility that are all but invisible to traditional zooarchaeological studies.

Anna Spyrou in the CAARI library, immersed in a past that responds with a moo

During the first month of my fellowship, I spent most of the time in CAARI's fantastic library, reading about cattle's behavioural ecology and the main biological constraints of the animal in an attempt to understand how cattle have been acclimatized on this small island. In addition, I reviewed the archaeological record of human-cattle interactions from the prehistoric to medieval times, covering a wide range of geographical regions including Anatolia, Africa and Northern Europe, taking also into consideration the ethnographic record and the fundamental role of cattle in the economy and cosmology of traditional African societies.

In addition, I have collected some well-preserved cattle long bones as well as first and second molars from Marki Alonia.  These will be sent for carbon, oxygen and strontium isotope analysis in order to shed more light on livestock management practices. Stable carbon and oxygen (δ13C and δ18O) values of tooth enamel reflect the composition of diet and the hydrological conditions experienced by the animals while  strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) of tooth enamel reflect the geological substrates on which the animals lived when their teeth were mineralizing, and may thus help to assess whether or not they were raised locally to the site(s) where they were buried.

One of the most challenging aspects of this project is the establishment of a strontium baseline for the island-something which has not been done before-in order to trace cattle movement over the landscape and their role in exchange networks.  The construction of a strontium baseline will be of permanent value for other studies in archaeology especially those focusing on movement of people, animals and artefacts. This needs lots of in advance planning but also collaboration with different institutions, such as the Cyprus Geological Survey Department. It was very nice to speak to Dr. Andreas Zissimos this week about the distribution of different geologies and the principles lying beyond environmental sampling for strontium!

While the initial idea was to include only material from Early Bronze Age/Philia-dated contexts, I decided, after talking to CAARI trustee Alan Simmons, to include some early Neolithic material. It would be great to include these early Neolithic cows and explore the deepest roots of the long and mysterious relationship between humans and cattle on the Island!

Looking forward for a very productive summer with data collection! Hopefully some well-preserved cattle bones will be recovered this summer from the excavations at Kissonerga Skalia!

Stay tuned!

Insights from the CAARI Archives

Brianna Bricker

Brianna Bricker, who composed this report, is a recent resident of Nicosia and a volunteer at CAARI, where she has been working on the organization and digital records of the map collection and archives. As a member of the Sardis Expedition with a background in Roman Asia Minor, she has found these opportunities welcome introductions to the world of Cypriot archaeology.

"Do you remember that on one occasion when you were nearly late for one of your Schweich lectures you said that archaeologists were terrible people. Well, I am one of the terrible people for I am nearly a month late in answering your letters" - so begins one of many congenial notes from the famed archaeologist, Max E.L. Mallowan (later Sir Max), to Claude F.A. Schaeffer.

Fabled couple:  Max Mallowan and Agatha Christie were married from 1930 until her death in 1976
Like so many of the items in the CAARI archives, this correspon-dence helps reveal the individuals behind the great scholars, and offers a lens through which to view the field of archaeology across the decades of the twentieth century.

Glimpses of Claude Schaeffer and Joan Du Plat Taylor are offered here.

Claude Schaeffer (1898-1982)was a French archaeologist. He holds special importance in Cypriot archaeology for his work at Enkomi, but is also well known for his work at the site of Ugarit and his comparative studies of Near Eastern chronology.  His archive came to CAARI in 1985 along with his extensive personal library, which forms the core of CAARI's, and CAARI's library is named for him. Tucked within the pages of his books and journals were numerous letters, often from the author of the publication where they were housed. The collection of around 900 items includes memos on scholarly issues, typewritten and handwritten lecture notes, manuscripts marked up in the margins, charts of stratigraphy and chronology, object drawings and illustrations, correspondence of both academic and personal nature, event invitations, newspaper clippings, and more. 

Claude F.A. Schaeffer, at left, with members of his team at Enkomi, his most famous excavation on Cyprus

The Schaeffer archive tracks the trajectory of his career, starting with splashy German press coverage of his excavations in Syria in 1929-30. The impact of World War II can be read in one despondent letter from Mallowan, or in the attempted optimism of one female colleague's note from the Rushen internment camp in the UK. Changes to the archaeological field during the post-war era and decolonization are also seen: letters debate UNESCO developments curtailing the movement of excavation finds, and a thick bundle of news clippings following political events in Cyprus from the 1950s through the '70s indicates a deep concern for the island and its archaeology. In the 1960s and '70s Schaeffer's correspondence takes a new tone, one of reluctance to leave the life of excavation, but with a mounting responsibility to focus on publication, set within the somber context of fellow scholars' illnesses or deaths. Yet throughout one finds Schaeffer's enduring interest in matters extending beyond his studies: an article on Rasputin, a recruitment ad for the Metropolitan Police Force in London, and a Minoan conspiracy theory (disregarded with a single word in the margin: "Unsinn!") add color to the collection.

The contents of Joan Du Plat Taylor archive, though less extensive, include correspondence with colleagues, pottery illustrations, and a collection of photographs. Du Plat Taylor (1906-1983) was a native of Glasgow who lived in Cyprus during the charmed inter-war years when Cypriot archaeology was expanding. She left an indelible mark on the archaeology of the island, not through any formal education (her only degree was an honorary doctorate conferred by the University of Pennsylvania in 1976) but through her innate curiosity and sterling natural ability. And despite an aversion to swimming, she would become a key figure in establishing the field of underwater archaeology. The archives at CAARI hold pieces of her early career and reveal a methodical character that would benefit her undertakings for decades to come.

We Need YOU to Help Build CAARI's Future

CAARI has had a very dynamic decade! It has renovated its home, expanded its library, air-conditioned its rooms, equipped Cyprus' first thin-section laboratory with state-of-the-art technology, even acquired its first drone. All of this is expensive! If every student who came to CAARI contributed even $35 a year, CAARI would be able to do so much more.  Make YOUR difference to CAARI now:

The establishment of the Peltenburg Postdoctoral Fellowship was the realization of a dream held since CAARI was founded.  We have the money support it for 20 years.  We need dedicated friends to help us fully endow it!  

Few goals are more central to CAARI's mission than securing our own means to support cutting-edge archaeological research, based on our own, cross-disciplinary needs and regional interests. CAARI is the only institution offering research fellowships specifically dedicated to Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean region. Help us sustain keen, vigorous research on Cyprus.

Thank you for your participation!

Annemarie Weyl Carr

Annemarie Weyl Carr
Vice President, CAARI Board