West KarkotisAtsasMandresAsinouKoutraphasLagoudheraEast
Iron Age 

4.19 Koutraphas: Hellenistic/Roman

The Koutraphas area appears to have been more widely occupied and exploited during the Hellenistic-Roman period, although pottery densities suggest that the west of the zone was favoured. A full range of pottery types was distributed across the four westernmost transects. The middle two of those four transects appear to have clipped either edge of a clearly defined spread of pottery. Both showed a distinct peak of pottery on the edge of the small plateau above the Elaia River, at Nikitari Katalasharis (TP256) and Nikitari Sanidhia (TP245).

TP256 Pano Koutraphas Katalasharis and TP245 Pano Koutraphas Sanidhia

No structural evidence was recorded at Katalasharis (TP256) or Sanidhia (TP245), but the pottery assemblage suggests continuing settlement throughout this period. The spread of Early Roman pottery was more limited than that of Later Roman material; this may have been a result of the top of the site being ploughed out to reveal the earlier evidence while distributing the later pottery through the halo.

There was a full range of cooking wares and a considerable amount of utility ware. There was nothing very distinctive about the light utility, but all the heavy utility items were basins rather than closed vessels. Basins are more suitable for food preparation than for long-term storage, although it is possible that cloth covers could have been used on them for short periods. None of them showed signs of internal wear, again suggesting either short-term use or that other, perhaps stone, vessels were used as mortarium types.

The lack of pithoi, which would normally have been used for storage in a permanent settlement, is unusual but not, in itself, sufficient to identify these as seasonal settlements. A few transport amphorae were identified, some of them locally made, so it is possible they were solely production sites.

The pottery evidence suggests that these were two small farmsteads like those found in the Atsas Valley where similar material was recorded. Very little tile was collected anywhere in the Koutraphas area, with just three fragments at Katalasharis and just one at Sanidhia. This suggests less substantial structures that might have been roofed with less durable materials, such as wood or reeds. There was also a peak in Medieval-Modern pottery at Katalasharis (TP256), and this continuity, associated with the tiles, could suggest a more permanent establishment than that recorded at Sanidhia (TP245).

If these were agricultural production settlements it is pertinent to consider if they fitted into a wider system, such as that round Kourion (Swiny and Mavromatis 2000). They lie on the western edge of the Koutraphas pediment, which would seem to link them to the Atsas farmsteads, Skouriotissa, the Karkotis Valley and Soloi, rather than to Tamassos to the east (Given and Knapp 2003, 199-200).

These settlements also lie conveniently on the route between the Alestos and Mavrovouni copper production areas and the port at Morphou Bay. If this route followed the Elaia river valley, as seems reasonable, it would have passed immediately below this agricultural area. Their position close to the mountains could also suggest a connection with the small Roman settlements in the Rotson Valley to the south (Sollars 2005, 133).