Topic ID #36779 - posted 2/26/2016 2:41 AM

Prastio-Mesorotsos Archaeological Expedition, Cyprus. 2016 Field School now open


2016 Field school now open!  24th July – 24th August 2016


The Prastio-Mesorotsos Project seeks to understand the prehistory and historical periods of western Cyprus by conducting several seasons of archaeological investigation at a multi-period site. It is run as an archaeological field school through the University of Edinburgh, and no prior experience is required of participants. Students of any discipline are encouraged to apply, especially those from Archaeology, Classics and History, but also those interested in surveying, geography, ethnology, as well as anyone with an interest in Mediterranean history of any period.

The site of Prastio-Mesorotsos is located in the Dhiarizos valley of western Cyprus, the site is a multi-period settlement spanning much of the island's history, from the Neolithic through to the 1950s AD.  Because a site of this kind, with a long sequence of the unique western-Cypriot material culture, has never been excavated before, there is the potential to define a previously unstudied chronological sequence and material culture. Mesorotsos, along with ongoing excavations at other sites, could be a missing piece to the puzzle of western Cypriot prehistory.

The site appears to have been abandoned in the Late Cypriot Bronze Age, a time of burgeoning urbanisation on the island, and it is likely that the inhabitants of Prastio-Mesorotsos moved to the nearby centre of Palaipaphos (Old Paphos), modern Kouklia. The timing of Prastio’s abandonment may give us an unprecedented glimpse as to when and why the urban centre of Paphos with its important cultic sanctuary was established.

Prastio-Mesorotsos was then re-occupied in the Iron Age and was probably continuously inhabited through the Hellenistic/Roman, Byzantine, Medieval and Ottoman periods until the modern village was established immediately opposite the river. In the late 19th century, this location was the stronghold of an infamous band of bandits called the Hassan Poulia, who since being captured and executed by the British have taken on a mythological ‘Robin Hood-like’ status. The area around the site continued to be used by the inhabitants of Prastio village until 1953, when an earthquake made the houses in Prastio unsafe. The site and village were abandoned and never reoccupied after fighting broke out in the area.

The long lifespan of this settlement provides a never-before-seen opportunity to investigate much of Cyprus’ past in one place, and this project is seeks to understand as much about the history of this location as possible. The main activities this season will be excavation of the prehistoric archaeological remains (artefacts and architecture), and post-excavation processing of the finds.


Participants must be reasonably fit and very enthusiastic. Please ensure you have a current Anti-tetanus vaccination and travel insurance. Further information will be supplied upon acceptance to the project. Expedition members should familiarise themselves with the Field Safety Guidelines, available at:

$1700 Fee includes registration, accommodations, program activities and meals on workdays. Airfare, weekend meals and optional excursions are additional.

We will be based in Kouklia, a charming village with several tavernas and cafes, which is situated on the remains of ancient Palaeopaphos, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Accommodation will be provided in a typical village house in Kouklia. A packed breakfast and lunch is provided on site. Evening meals will take place Sunday-Thursday in a local taverna (with occasional BBQ or pizza nights).

Project Publications

McCarthy, Blakeman, Collard, Croft, Graham, McCartney and Stork (2010) ‘The Prastio-Mesorotsos Archaeological Expedition: second preliminary report of the 2009 excavations,’ Report of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus 2010.

McCarthy, Blakeman, Dalton, Hill, Graham and Ritchie (2009) ‘The Prastio-Mesorotsos Archaeological Expedition, 2008: first preliminary report,’ Report of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus 2009.

McCarthy, A. (2008) ‘Aphrodite’s Ancestors: The Prastion-MesorotsosArchaeological Expedition, Cyprus,’ Past Horizons 5, 32-37. Accessible online at:


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