West KarkotisAtsasMandresAsinouKoutraphasLagoudheraEast
Iron Age 

4.15 Asinou: Hellenistic/Roman

There are two main areas of evidence for activity during the Hellenistic-Roman period in the Asinou area (.mov panorama). There appears to have been occupation around and upstream of the church of Panayia Phorviotissa, where the Rotson and the Khandaki rivers meet. In this area the sides of the Asinou Valley become, briefly, less steep than along most of its length. Smaller, more dispersed settlements were established further upstream along the Rotson River.

While sherd density was low, the Hellenistic-Roman tile, table and cooking ware recorded around the church of Panayia Phorviotissa (TS08), and upstream (TS03, TS12, TS17), suggest occupation in the Roman period. The absence of storage vessels, however, suggests that it may only have been temporary. A frying pan handle found at Khalospities (TS12) was similar to those that may have been used by shepherds in the Akamas during their daily round (Lund 2002). Similar items were, however, also collected at permanent settlements such as Mavrovouni (TS02) and Litharkies (TS05).

Geophysical survey within the enclosure around the late Byzantine church of Panayia Phorviotissa (TP030) detected anomalies that could represent the foundations of an earlier enclosure and structures. The largest of the anomalies is aligned north-east/south-west, which suggests that it was not an earlier church but another structure, perhaps of the Roman period. This would explain the presence of the Late Roman table ware and pantiles recovered from the orchards to the north-west of the church.

Occupation, exploitation and communication further up the valley are visible in an extensive network of paths (TP228, TP230) and terraces (TP229, TP230, TP231), which may well date from the Hellenistic-Roman period. The land was stabilised for small-scale agriculture by terracing, often stone-built and tall enough to support the paths as well as restrict the river in flood. Several small structures had been built within this network of terraces and paths. Built close to the river, they were similar in form, but quite different in purpose, to the farmsteads recorded in the Atsas and Koutraphas intensive survey zones.

TP220 Nikitari Trimitheri

The walls of the three-room structure at Nikitari Trimitheri (TP220) survived up to 0.8m high. Pine trees growing within the rooms showed that the structure had remained largely undisturbed for at least 40 years. Roman pantiles and cooking ware and Cypriot Red Slip Ware from the second half of the 6th century AD suggest at least short-term occupation. The larger amount of Archaic-Modern heavy utility ware could either indicate a more permanent Roman occupation, or they could represent later reuse of the site during the Medieval-Modern period.

There was more than one phase of construction at Trimitheri. This reinforces the suggestion of later reuse, as does the fact that much of the Roman tile and pottery was retrieved from the walls of the structure where it may have been used as chinking in rebuilt walls. The partially bulldozed irregular, ovoid room on the south-east corner may have been a temporary enclosure for livestock built during this later occupation.

The structures at Laxia tou Iaona (TP200) and Khalospita (TP250), also appear to have been occupied during the Hellenistic-Roman period and again in the Medieval-Modern period.

It seems unlikely that the occupants of these small mountain settlements would be practising agriculture beyond very small-scale activities for subsistence purposes. There is no direct evidence for it, but it seems probable that the residents of these and other, similar, examples in the area (Sollars 2005) would have relied upon pastoralism and exploited the forest for commodities such as lumber, pitch and charcoal.