Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios

Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios is located in the Vasilikos River valley, approximately 3.5 km from the southern coast of the island.  It is well situated for communication and trade, sitting astride a natural corridor that connects central and eastern Cyprus with the western portion of the island, and the north-south route that links the copper minds in the Tróodos Mountains to the sea.  The importance of this corridor is highlight by the presence of the modern Limassol-Larnaka highway, which unfortunately, runs though the center of the archaeological site.  The site was first investigated by the Vasilikos Valley Survey Project, direct by Dr. Ian Todd, which included rescue excavations before the highway was built, and later, several areas were excavated under the direction of Alison South.  Surface survey indicates that the site is likely more than 11 hectares in size and evidence from excavations dates it to the Late Cypriot II period (c. 1450-1200 BCE).  South’s excavations revealed several urban structures, seemingly oriented on a gridded layout with north-south and east-west running streets.

The site is perhaps best known for the zone of monumental buildings in the Northeast area, centered around Building X, the largest structure on site–approximately 30.5m x 27m, with an overall area of more than 1000m2–and which, to-date, is believed to be the administrative center of the settlement.  The importance of the structure is further evidenced by the largest room in Building X, the Pithos Hall, a 135 m2 olive oil storage room, with six monolithic ashlar columns, containing up to fifty massive pithoi, between 1.5 and 2m tall, which could have held up to 33,500 liters of oil in all (Keswani 1991:141-144; South 1984:23; South 1989:321). The “international” nature of the site is emphasized by the fact that tablets set between the King of Alashiya, who is generally thought to be the king of Cyprus during this period, and the Egyptian Pharaoh and King of Ugarit could plausibly be sourced to the region around the site (Goran et al. 2003).

Map of KAD showing presumed extent of settlement, excavation areas, modern highway and archaeogeophysics units 3 and 4 (Kevin Fisher, based on data from Alison South).

2 Responses to Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios

  1. Wayne Rutledge says:

    Good to see how well the project advanced and developed. I was a volunteer there in the early 80’s. Have a copy of the Vasilikos Valley Project too. Went back to the site in 2005 and it and Tenta were in good shape, even found that old well I dug out back then

    Well done

  2. Jeffrey Francis Leon says:

    Great to hear from you, Wayne. We’ve just finished a short study season out in Cyprus tidying up some results from previous seasons and collecting a bit of new data. We’re look forward to some more substantial seasons in the coming years. Check out our “Publications and Papers” page for more info on the project! Thanks for your interest and support!

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