Fieldwork, 1992-1997

During the pilot seasons of 1992 and 1993, we finalized all logistical and practical arrangements, and refined our fieldwalking, recording and mapping strategies. During the three-week 1993 season, two field teams recorded 416 survey units, and covered intensively 2.6 sq km. Through 1993, the SCSP had identified 23 previously unknown Places Of Special Interest (POSIs). With the identification of a Late Bronze Age agricultural village and a what we believe to be a Roman mine and slag heap, we demonstrated that the survey area contained exactly the kinds of sites we had predicted. During 1995, an archaeometallurgical team made sections at two major slag heaps and a large, modern spoil heap; within one of the slag heaps (Mitsero Kouloupakhis; SIA 3), we uncovered clear, stratified evidence of a major structure as well as of workshop floors, furnace fragments, large chunks of charcoal, and other industrial remains. All areas contained diagnostic pottery (Iron Age/Late Roman) stratified within sections; the Late Roman utilization of the mines is historically very significant, as it contradicts the usual interpretation of the mines being shut down by the 4th century AD.

Fieldwork during the 1995 season allowed us to work towards achieving some of the project's original goals, and impelled us to reorient ourselves in other directions, both in the field and in the laboratory. All Early Prehistoric 'sites' in and around the survey area were revisited, re-collected, and mapped wherever feasible. Bronze Age evidence still appeared to be thin on the ground, although the discovery of one village site, another scatter of Bronze Age material, and the existence of third, previously-known Middle-Late Bronze Age site (Politiko Lambertis) demonstrates a notable Bronze Age component in the Politiko-Mitsero region. By the end of the 1995 season, we initiated the process of moving from a sampling to more purposive survey, one more focused on areas of special interest.

During the 1996 season, we revisited several artifact density peaks, where we conducted a second stage of artifact and environmental data collection. At the same time, we added a critical, geomorphological perspective to our fieldwork. Amongst the 35 new POSIs recorded in 1996, the most important was Politiko Phorades, which consisted of a buried creek bed and what has now been shown to be a Middle-Late Bronze Age copper smelting site, exposed in the contemporary creek bed section.

During the 1997 season, eight SIAs were investigated by means of intensive block survey, and 27 specific POSIs were recorded in detail. As in previous seasons, many of the POSIs from the Roman to the Ottoman periods consisted of broad and dense scatters of pottery. In a continuing refinement of the POSI methodology developed in the previous season, these were recorded and collected using fixed grids, gridded circles of various sizes, and subunits suited to the cultural remains. All POSIs were mapped, and architectural remains such as the Medieval village of Mavrovounos ('Maurochio' on the Venetian maps) and the monastery of Ayios Mnason were mapped with theodolite and EDM.

SCSP investigated the landscape at three different levels:

  • Survey Area. SCSP's 75 sq km survey area is situated on the northern slopes of the Troodos mountains and the adjoining plain. Fieldwalkers carried out transects consisting of north-south lines of survey units. This information was used to analyse the entire survey area at different periods (see Reports section on the side menu).

  • Special Interest Areas (SIAs). These are smaller, relatively well-defined and coherent areas, typically 300 to 500 metres across. Examples are a stretch of upland river valley, an area of intense cultivation for several millennia, a Medieval settlement, or a copper ore zone intensely exploited in the Archaic to Late Roman periods. See more on the methodology, or explore the SIAs by menu or map.

  • Places of Special Interest (POSIs). Unlike 'site', the term POSI implies no assumptions about the function or character of a specific area. It is an administrative term referring to a location where we have carried out investigation at a more intensive level than in a survey unit or SIA. Typical POSIs include discrete pottery or lithics scatters, isolated rural structures, and soil sections showing sedimentation episodes with stratified pottery. See more on the methodology, or explore the POSIs by menu.