ETHNOARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELDWORK IN CYPRUS

In May of 1993, Michael Deal conducted a pilot ethnoarchaeological study in Cyprus. Ethnoarchaeology focuses on the use of recent ethnographic information for interpreting and explaining past human behavior and organization. Cyprus is noted for the preservation of traditional Mediterranean industries, and in particular, pottery making. The village pottery tradition of Cyprus has survived for more than 6000 years and has remained relatively conservative in its variety of vessel forms and decorations. Handmade vessel forms such as the water jar (kouza) and goat milking pot (galeftiri) illustrated below, have obvious prototypes from the Cypriot Bronze Age.Very little evidence of prehistoric pottery production has been identified in Cyprus, yet it is important to be able to identify such locations before attempting to address issues related to prehistoric social and economic conditions associated with pottery production. The immediate goal of the pilot study was to record traditional village pottery making activities, make detailed drawings of production areas and to collect archaeological samples from ongoing and abandoned production sites. The ethnoarchaeological information collected will be used to develop predictive models for the identification of prehistoric production locations (e.g., SAA2005) and video-tapes of modern village potters will serve as a permanent visual record of traditional activities and as an aid in developing future research strategies. Ten hours of archival footage was taken in three Cypriot villages and from this a half-hour documentary of on Cypriot village potters was produced for a workshop on pottery making at the Cyprus American Research Institute.