West KarkotisAtsasMandresAsinouKoutraphasLagoudheraEast
Iron Age 

4.1 Karkotis Valley: Prehistoric

There is a clear pattern of pottery distribution in the Chalcolithic period (c. 3900-2600 BC) and the Late Chalcolithic/Philia phase (c. 2700-2500 BC) of the Prehistoric Bronze Age. This pottery shows a very clear concentration at Koutroullis, just south-east of Kato Phlasou, and virtually nothing else in the Karkotis Valley. Recent erosion is not a significant problem in the Karkotis Valley. We have certainly lost some prehistoric surfaces due to later incision and deposition by the Karkotis River, but this certainly does not apply to the older, higher terraces of the valley.

There is a striking contrast with the Prehistoric Bronze Age pottery (which might include some Late Chalcolithic/Philia pottery that could not be precisely identified, but will mostly be the later phases). There is a continuing concentration at Koutroullis, but with more of a halo round it, and a rather denser and wider spread at Laonarka to the north. There are scattered sherds across the valley outside these two main concentrations. These are partly a result of greater quantities of pottery being produced, broken and discarded, and partly due to more wide-ranging and intensive cultivation and other activity outside the immediate surroundings of these two localities.

Koutroullis (TS06) is a substantial Prehistoric Bronze Age 1 settlement, with considerable amounts of pottery that dates (according to the traditional chronology) from the Late Chalcolithic, Philia and Early Cypriot phases. It also has one of the most comprehensive assembages of prehistoric chipped and ground stone investigated by TAESP. The site is located on a basalt spur at the end of a ridge running westwards from the valley edge, with an excellent view (.mov panorama) both up and down the valley. In the Prehistoric Bronze Age it may have been directly adjacent to a river meander.

TS06 Phlasou Koutroullis

There were substantial densities of pottery in the surrounding fields, mostly dating to the Late Chalcolithic/Philia phase (c. 2700-2500 BC) of the Prehistoric Bronze Age, and groups of ground stone on the spur and along an adjacent dirt road. More pottery and chipped stone was eroding out of the road cut at the base of the spur (TP135). The primary vessel shapes were large open-mouthed jars with short necks and smaller hole-mouth jars with flaring rims.

The chipped stone assemblage shows some very interesting patterns of activities and decision-making. The actual tool use seems to be more strongly focused round the road cut, while most of the core reduction was done at other parts of the site. The knappers showed a strong preference for imported high-quality Lefkara chert, as opposed to jasper and chalcedony, which was local but of poorer quality. They so valued the Lekfara chert that they worked the raw material until it was exhausted.

The ground stone reflects the normal activities from other Chalcolithic and Prehistoric Bronze Age sites in Cyprus. The inhabitants were grinding plant foods using grinding slabs, querns, and rubbers, many of them pecked round the edge or on the working face, to roughen it. They were also pounding using ad hoc pebble tools and heavier percussive tools. It seems that there was more pounding round the road cut (TP135), and more grinding elsewhere on the site. Given the abundant ore sources 3km to the north, the unusually high number of grinding stones might also represent the grinding of ore before smelting.

A soil cut 300m upstream showed stratified layers of flood deposits with relatively unworn pottery of the same type as Koutroullis (TP246). This demonstrates that the Bronze Age river channel was some 12m higher than at present.

Katydhata Laonarka (TS09) represents the remains of at least one part of a Prehistoric Bronze Age 2 habitational and mortuary complex (Boutin et al. 2003).

TS09 Katydhata Laonarka

Laonarka was previously only known from tombs excavated in 1915 (Markides 1916). The definition of the settlement simply on the basis of the material culture was difficult. The pottery was dominated by Red Polished III juglets and fineware bowl sherds in good condition. There were no obvious settlement materials such as mudbrick, wall plaster or coarse wares, or installations such as basins. Moreover, the density of ground stone was relatively low. Geophysical survey, however, showed some suggestive linear anomalies.

There was continuing activity round Laonarka in the Protohistoric Bronze Age, although by this period Koutroullis was clearly no longer settled. Apart from some sherd scatters, which appeared to be the remains of tomb assemblages, there was little to connect this material with any particular features, though its distribution extends distinctly further west than that of the Prehistoric Bronze Age material.