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DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION Settlement on Cyprus in the 7th Century William R. Caraher R. Scott Moore Introduction The 7th and 8th centuries on Cyprus remain a vexing period for historians and archaeologists alike. The obscure nature of the historical narrative for this period has provided an opportunity for archaeology to fill the gap in our understanding of the history of the island. To do that, archaeologists have reconsidered the traditional view of these centuries on Cyprus as a period of economic, demographic, and cultural decline reflective of the large-scale disruptions in the Eastern Mediterranean.1 The needs of the capital in Constantinople and the military in both the Balkans and the Levant enlivened the economic networks that engaged the island and the region during the 6th and 7th centuries. These same networks, however, reeled under the collapse of Roman political hegemony. Wars, plagues, and various official efforts to resettle disruptive or displaced populations reshaped the population of the Roman Mediterranean and invariably had an impact on the organization of settlement. In the traditional narrative of Mediterranean history in the 7th and 8th centuries, these economic and demographic changes had a profound impact on the urban fabric, on architectural innovation, and on the extent and intensity of rural settlement.2 On Cyprus, Arab raids during the middle decades of the 7th century presented a local anchor to the larger narrative of Mediterranean disruption and decline at the end of Roman antiquity. Further complicating the events of this periods is the complex political situation in the island which may have seen some kind of joint Byzantine and Arab control or at least taxation of the island, as well as the presence of an Arab garrison. A circular reading of archaeological evidence from the island has tended to reinforce a traditional picture of the 7th and 8th century as a period of disruption and change. Archaeologists frequently attribute destruction layers at Late Roman sites on the island to the depredations of the Arabs.3 Scholars have used the Arab raids to explain the abandonment of the major urban site of Kourion on the central coast.4 Scholars have long attributed to Arab raids the destruction of churches across the island, from the rural basilica complex at Alassa,5 to the multiple churches of the community at Ay. Georgios-Peyia,6 the coastal church of Maroni-Petrera,7 or at the site studied by the authors of this volume at Pyla-Koutsopetria on Larnaka Bay.8 The transformation of wood-roofed basilicas to barrelvaulted churches has become emblematic of the Arab raids.9 In most cases, the date for the destruction of these building rests on the coincidence of ceramics, coins, and the historical narrative. Archaeological artifacts that should provide a terminus post quem consistently reinforce attributions to specific historical events rather than more chronologically indistinct historical processes. The
Metcalf 2009, 573-575 for a summary of the traditional perspective. See Haldon and Brubaker 2011, 531-572 for the most recent survey of these centuries. 3 Papageorghiou 1985 for the effect of Arab raids on the basilica churches on the island. 4 Megaw 1993, but since revised in Megaw 2007. 5 Florentzos 1996, 2. 6 Bakirtsis 1995; Papacostas 2001 7 Manning 8 Christou 9 Megaw 1946; See Stewart 2010 for a critical evaluation of this traditional view and a summary of subsequent scholarship.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION tendency to associate the end of these sites with the Arab raids produced a largely monocausal argument for a seemingly abrupt transformation of the settlement on Cyprus. Over the past two decades, however, scholars have become increasingly skeptical of the monocausal explanation for the 7th century settlement change. For example, Marcus Rautmans study of the village site of Kopetra in the Kalavassos Valley argued that the site depended upon the integrated economy and administrative influences of Roman hegemony in the Eastern Mediterranean which facilitated the export of agricultural products from the island and support of mining operations in the copper rich Troodos mountains.10 The abandonment of the settlement in the late-7th century represented the disruption of economic and political networks brought about by the Arab conquest of the Levant, incursions on the island, and activities in Cilicia in Asia Minor. The decline of Kopetra, in this context, was a local adaptation to the changing place of Cyprus in the political and economic life of the region. The following contribution to this discussion share more with Rautmans perspectives than the traditional views. At the same time, it does not attempt an exhaustive account of settlement in 7th and 8th Cyprus, but rather some broad generalizations supported by specific examples. Recent work by L. Zavagno, D. Metcalf, T. Papacostas, M. Rautman, and others provide a comprehensive and sophisticated reading of the problems and prospects associated with analyzing this period in the archaeological record and these efforts provide a solid guide for this work.11 We have avoided sustained discussion of the complex literary sources for these centuries and have focused on the complexities of the archaeological record with the understanding that the material culture of the island can tell a complementary, but independent story of these opaque centuries. The Regional Context for Settlement on Cyprus As the contributions to this volume demonstrate, larger patterns exist in settlement of the 6th8th century Mediterranean. Increased attention to later levels at urban sites, the expansion of intensive pedestrian survey, and growing interest in rural sites ranging from fortifications to villages has created a landscape that is far more complex than earlier narratives of decline have suggested. This recent work has provided not just a historical and archaeological context for the period on Cyprus, but also a growing terminology for reconceptualizing the transformation of settlement.12 As scholars like A. Dunn and M. Veikou have noted,13 the changing character of settlement has confounded expectations grounded in the study of ancient landscapes. For example, there is reason to suspect that the 7th saw the blurring of the distinction between urban and rural sites, the emergence of new kinds of rural sites, such as monasteries, without clear antecedents in earlier periods, and the end of settlement types, like market towns, associated with the last great flourishing of Roman economic activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. This new landscape did not coincide neatly with earlier landscapes either in terms of organization or definition. Haldon and Brubakers magisterial overview of society in the iconoclast era provides a point of departure for any consideration of 7th and 8th century settlement in the Eastern Mediterranean.14
Rautman 2003, 235-262. Zavagno 2011, 2011-2012, 2013; Metcalf 2009; Papacostas 1999, 2001; Rautman 2003. 12 Haldon and Brubaker 2011. 13 Viekou 2009, 2010; Dunn 1994, 1997, 2005; Haldon and Brubaker 2011, 533. 14 Haldon and Brubaker 2011
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION While emphasizing regional variation, they nevertheless identify significant changes to the economic and political foundations of settlement across the region. Urbanism of the Late Roman period witnessed the last great investment in urban space in antiquity with the construction of churches, the construction of baths, fountains, and walls, and the transformation of roads, amenities, and public spaces that adapted urban space to the values and needs of the Late Roman community. Against the backdrop of flourishing Late Roman urbanism, the 7th century saw a seemingly rapid decline in the size, complexity, and economic prominence of urban areas throughout the Balkans and Anatolia, revealing the impact of demographic decline, military instability, and economic disintegration across the region. Communities across the Asia Minor and the Aegean witnessed the ravages of the recurrent Justinianic plague as well as military insecurity brought about by the Persian War and the growing threat of Slavic and Arab raids of the 7th and 8th centuries. As a result, cities contracted in area and constructed fortified encientes enclosing only a small area of the earlier city. The economic and administrative prominence of urban areas likely persisted, but at a reduced scale as military instability undermined longstanding economic relationships between urban areas and local and distant markets. The overall impact of these trends on the structure of settlement varied across across the Early Byzantine world with some areas like Anatolia seeing the rise of highly nucleated, fortified cities, the displacement of urban populations to more dispersed settlements, or the disappearance of urban areas almost entirely. These trends impacted Cyprus. The military disruptions and contraction of urban space and populations in Cilicia and Pisidia over the course of the 7th century almost certainly led to the decline in nearby markets for Cypriot commodities and trade in the region more generally.15 Likewise, the more complex disruptions in the northern Levant particular Antioch and environs had an impact on regional markets. Even when these disruptions did not effect urban areas on Cyprus directly as the cities on the island appear to enjoyed stability until middle decades of the 7th century, they did destabilize the longstanding economic, political, social, and even military relationships between communities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The transformation of the urban world in the 7th and 8th accompanied changes in the structure of rural settlement. While rural life in the 5th and 6th centuries boomed alongside urban prosperity across most the Eastern Mediterranean, scholars have long recognized a steep decline in rural communities starting in the late 6th century in the Balkans and continuing into the 7th century in Asia Minor and the Levant.16 Fortifications either as a garrisons for troops or as places of refuge for local populations rendered vulnerable by the military instability of the borders appeared alongside or in the place of rural farms and villages.17 At the same time, detecting the rise of villages as both centers of settlement and as the basic unit for the emerging Byzantine economy has played a key role in efforts by scholars to find the leading edge in the reorganization of productive landscape in the the post-antique era. Unfortunately, relatively few rural sites have seen systematic excavation in the Eastern Mediterranean and intensive pedestrian survey has struggled to distinguish monasteries, villages, and rural churches, in the archaeological record.18 While the regional perspectives offered by intensive survey hold forth the potential to produce a Byzantine landscape, at present the limitations of our methods have obscured our ability to consistently identify the surface signatures of short term activities. Some of this has to do with ongoing difficulties recognizing and dating 7th and 8th ceramics on the surface. It also involves our difficulty in recognizing the signatures of short term occupation on the surface in any period. The ambiguity associated the basic structures of rural life
Decker and Kingsley 2001 Bowden and Lavan 2003. 17 Dunn 18 Sanders 2004 for a summary of many of these issues. See also Pettegrew 2007
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION during a particularly dynamic period in Mediterranean history has led M. Veikou to argue for the presence of new third spaces in the landscape that subvert and defy the traditional binaries like rural and urban or monumental and temporary.19 Constructing a normative view of the Late Antique or Early Byzantine countryside remains difficult. Traditional notions of decline, contractions, and abandonment have given way to more nuanced and regional perspectives that complicate any universalizing perspectives. At the same time, we are more aware of the interconnections or, to use Horden and Purcells term, connectivity between micoregions, sites, and communities in the Mediterranean basin.20 A systemic approach to understanding the effects of instability of on interdependent and connected communities reminds us how insular places like Cyprus can nevertheless feel the effects of larger changes in prosperity or integration elsewhere in the network. Indeed, the insularity of Cyprus, in a literal sense, ensured its entrenched position within a large and complex Mediterranean system and contributed both to the islands resilience as well as its vulnerability to economic, political, and social change in the region.21 Evidence for Settlement on Cyprus Nowhere is the integrated position of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean more clear than in the archaeological evidence for settlement. Traditionally, scholars have relied on the careful study of ceramics, coins and seals, and architecture to provide evidence for the extent and character of settlement. These objects also represent the degree to which Cyprus was integrated into a regional social and economic system. Thus, each type of evidence presents its own interrelated challenges that shape the kinds of landscape that these types of artifact produce. The material culture provides evidence by analogy for settlement as well as evidence for the connectivity and economic strategies at play among the island communities. Ceramics Ceramic evidence plays a key role in dating settlements, establishing local and regional trade connections, and understanding production within the Cypriot economy. Fortunately, the last four decades have seen a massive improvement in our ability to unpack the significance of ceramic assemblages on Cyprus. The publication of production sites both on Cyprus and in the wider region as well as significant assemblages from sites like Anemurium on the Cilician coast have provided a regional context for Cypriot assemblages.22 On Cyprus, excavators have systematically published a range of deposits including both urban centers at Paphos and Kourion and more rural sites like Kalavassos-Kopetra, Panayia-Ematousa, and Dhiorios.23 Furthermore, survey projects and less systematic publications offer a substantial and diverse body of ceramic material from both major sites and landscapes across the island.24 Finally, there is a wealth of important material still awaiting publication from both major sites whose excavations were disrupted by the 1974 invasion and the salvage excavation of dozens of basilicas and significant coastal sites at Pyla-Koutsopetria, Dreamers
Veikou 2009 Horden and Purcell 2000. 21 Leonard 2005 22 William 1989. 23 Paphos: Meyza 2007; Kourion: Hayes 2007; Kopetra: Rautman 2004, Panayia-Ematousa: Lund 2006, Jacobsen 2006; Dhiorios: Catling 1972. 24 Manning 2002; Flourentzos 1996; Lund 1993; Moore and Gregory 2003; Catling 1970.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION Bay,25 and Ay. Georgios-Peyia,26 as well as a growing number of shipwreck sites.27 The distribution and chronology of ceramics on Cyprus provides a key indicator of settlement as well as the integration of the island in the wider economy. Since the publication of John Hayes magisterial Late Roman Pottery, our appreciation and understanding of Late Roman fine wares in the Mediterranean has much more solid footing.28 The continuous, incremental revision of Hayess founding efforts have pushed the latest types of most common Late Roman red slips - Phocaean red slip (Late Roman C), African Red slip, and Cypriot red slip (Late Roman D) ware - well into the 7th century. The continued circulation of these red slips has been central to arguments for the persistence of Mediterranean trade and the production of red slipped fine wares for over a century longer than traditional assessments. For example, wellforms of Cypriot red slip (LRD) from Anemurium date to middle decades of the 7th.29 P. Armstrong, following H. Catlings excavations at Dhiorios on Cyprus,30 has reminded us that certain LRD forms including the common and long-lived form 9 have appeared in contexts dated securely to the middle decades of the 8th century.31 The recent publication of kilns near in Pamphylia indicates that LRD ware was not produced exclusively on Cyprus and may have entered the island on the western side and circulated across the island from there.32 Sites further east have LRC and African red slip in higher percentages than those to the west. The production of various kinds of utility wares across the island reflect a range of different production strategies and economic networks. The best known kilns at Dhiorios cave appear to have produced cooking wares for both local use and regional exchange at least until the 8th century.33 Like LRD fine wares, Dhiorios are diagnostic and wares seem to appear more consistently in assemblages on the western half of the island than in the eastern parts. On a more local scale, M. Rautman has identified a class of handmade wares that were almost certainly produced on a household or village level for very local consumption.34 At the village site of Kalavassos-Kopetra, these vessels appeared in contexts contemporary with imported fine wares like African red slip and locally produced cooking wares from Dhiorios in the 7th century.35 The contemporaneity of transmediterranean, regional, and local pottery has complicated our chronological assumptions about the development and access to various ceramic types on the island. Perhaps the best known and most widely distributed ceramic type from the island are Late Roman 1 amphoras. As S. Demesticha describes in greater detail elsewhere in this volume, the third generation of LR1 amphoras with clearly 7th century dates circulated widely in the Eastern Mediterranean and most likely reflected, at least in part, an administrative convenience tied to the provisioning the military.36 It is clear that these amphora and their variants such as the widely
Leonard and Demesticha 2004 Bakirtsis 1995; 1996. 27 The Wanger 2013. 28 Hayes 1972 29 Williams 1977 30 Catling 1972 31 Armstrong 2009. N.B. H. Meyza has muddied the waters by arguing that some of the traditionally late forms of LRD could also appear early. 32 Jackson et al. 2012. 33 Calting 1972; Armstrong 2009. 34 Rautman 1998. 35 Rautman 2004, GET CITATIONS. 36 More on LR1 here.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION produced LR13, circulated into the 8th century suggesting that at least some of the administrative and economic connections of the empire persisted into the Byzantine world.37 Coins and Seals The challenges associated with understanding the significance of Late Roman coins from excavated contexts on Cyprus is well-known, but rarely discussed. Coins frequently serve to date the abandonment or destruction of buildings in the 7th century and are assumed to be the latest object in a level, fill, or on a surface. Archaeologically, this is a problematic assumption stemming in large part from the unimpeachable chronological authority of the coin as a dated object. Unlike ceramic chronologies which have proven particularly fluid in Late Antiquity, coins would appear to associate archaeological features with political figures and events. At the same time, coins remain dependent on supply, and during periods of economic instability, archaeologists have to consider most carefully the relationship between the frequency of coins in circulation and their tendency to appear in archaeological contexts.38 This is particularly significant for Cyprus where issues of Heraclius and Constans II have often played an outsized role in the dating of archaeological events on the island.39 Not only did Heraclius briefly mint coins on the island from 608-610 when he used the island as a staging area for his revolt,40 but also during his reign troops cycled through Cyprus to his campaigns during the Persian War in the Levant. The frequency of coins dating to the reign of Heraclius and to a lesser extent his successor Constans II to pay troops staged on Cyprus contrasts strongly with the nearly absolute collapse of currency supply in the final quarter of the 7th century.41 The disruption of regional mints owing to the Arab conquests resulted in an almost singular dependence of Cyprus on currency minded in Constantinople. Moreover, disruptions to the regional economy and the ambiguous condominium arrangement on the island all contributed to a massive drop in the number of large, easily recognized coins available on the island.42 [Note evidence from coin hoards?] The significance of this situation is that we should approach buildings dated on the basis of coins alone and, in particular coins of Heraclius and his successor with renewed caution. Their presence or absence of coins within an archaeological context reflects more complex processes than archaeologists have sometimes allowed. The irregular supply of currency to the island in the last decades of the 7th poses a challenge to dating levels based on coins as well as understanding the economic and political integration of the island. The date of the rural site of Kornos cave, for example, has been dated on the basis of a coin early in third year of Contans IIs reign, although the investigator of the cave admitted that a date as late as the early 8th was possible, he preferred to associated the cave with the Arab raids of the 650s.43 As D. Metcalf has shown, lead seals have
Armstrong 2009: MORE HERE? For recent survey of numismatic evidence for the 7th century on Cyprus see: Zavagno 2011 and Metcalf 2009, 159181. 39 A quick survey of R. Maguires 2012 catalogue of churches on Cyprus produced nearly a dozen churches dated by coins of Heraclius or Constans II. 40 Metcalf 2009, 159-161. 41 Metcalf 2009, 148-158. 42 Zavagno 2011 for the problems associated with identifying Arab coins consistently. 43 Catling 1970.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION demonstrate that the island remained connected to administrative structure of the Byzantine state.44 In fact, a small group of seals from the coast near Polis have suggested that the northwestern part of the island remained in contact with the Byzantine fleet stationed active along the Cilician coast as late as the end of the 8th century45. G. Sanders argued that the seeming absence of numismatic evidence might reflect circulation of very small issues common in the 7th and 8th century which would have slipped through typical 1 cm sieves unnoticed unlike the larger imperial currency of the 6th and 7th centuries.46 The smaller coins served local residents and represent a resilient local economy that remained monetized, but in a way that benefited an increasingly local sphere of exchange. The impact of this scenario on the use of coins to date features and as indicators of the islands economy is clear. Architecture Identifying architecture datable to the 7th and 8th on the island remains bound up in issues of ceramic chronology and our use of coins. The traditional narrative that saw the Arab raids destroying many of the traditional wood-roofed basilicas on the island. Scholars have argued that communities rebuilt these some of these buildings after the destruction and, in a handful of cases, changed from wood roofs to barrel vaults. This phenomenon is most evident on the Karpas peninsula where a well-documented group of these churches stand: Panagia Chrysiotissa (Afentrika), Asomatos church (Afentrika), Agia Varvara (Koroveia), Panagia Afentrika (Sykhada), and Panagia Kanakari (Lythrankomi). These churches have attracted significant scholarly attention,47 but there is no stratigraphic or archaeological study of these buildings, and they remain dated on a basis of style and historical probability. A similar processes of barrel-vaulting appears to have occurred at the south basilica at Polis-Chrysochous in northwest Cyprus. Recent archaeological work has securely dated this transformation to the second half of the 7th century.48 It remains impossible, however, to associate the building with a specific historical event like the Arab raids. There exists only a handful of buildings that can be clearly associated with the Arab raids appear. The most dramatic example comes from Soloi where a long inscription dedicated the reconstruction of the basilica after it was damaged during the Arab raids.49 At Paphos, there are a series of poorly preserved buildings near the Limeniotissa basilica which featured Arabic inscriptions. One of these buildings used spolia from the Limeniotissa church and featured a series of Arabic inscriptions suggesting that this entire neighborhood postdated the Arab invasions and garrison in Paphos.50 It appears that the cathedral at Paphos, the Chrysopolitissa church, underwent a similar transformation. At Salamis-Constantia it appears that the house of lHuilerie was modified in the later 7th or early 8th century,51 as were the churches of Campanopetra and of St. Epiphanius.52 The evidence from these sites, however, remains relatively provisional as the buildings in Paphos are relatively unpublished and those from Salamis remain dependent on the vagaries of numismatic and ceramic evidence presented without comprehensive stratigraphic documentation. The fragmentary
Metcalf 2009; Metcalf et al. 2004 Metcalf 2009, 101-102. 46 Sanders 2005 47 Most recently Stewart 2010. But see also Megaw 1946; OTHERS 48 Caraher and Papalexandrou 2012. 49 Des Gagniers and Tinh 1985, 115-125. 50 Megaw 1988; Christides xxxx 51 Argoud et al. 1980. 52 For the Campanopetra: Roux 1998; For the St. Epiphanius see: Stewart 2008, 63-90.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION picture derived from architecture does not offer enough of a foundation for an architectural typology that could shed light on the extensive corpus of unpublished or under-documented buildings from the end of antiquity. Urban Settlement Much of the evidence from Cyprus comes from the substantial, excavated contexts in Cypriot cities. This is fitting as Cyprus was among the most urbanized areas of the ancient world (and even modern times). Situated largely on the coastal plain, the cities of Cyprus connected their agricultural hinterland and the important mineral resources, especially copper, of the Troodos mountains to the larger Mediterranean world through access to the sea. The urban landscape of Cyprus, then, depended economically upon connectivity and access to markets and trade networks that crisscross the region with the cities serving administrative functions for their regions. First Paphos and, then, Salamis-Constantia from the 4th century served as provincial capitals for the Roman province. Throughout the 6th and 7th the island enjoyed substantial administrative contact, access to maritime trade, and prosperous hinterlands. This economic situation created a scenario where the Late Roman archaeology of Cyprus leaned heavily on the abundant artifacts associated with this transMediterranean connectivity including imported and exported ceramics, coins, and, for the Early Byzantine period, lead seals. The highly visible, widely distributed and abundance of evidence from the 6th and first part of the 7th century presented a sharp contract with the more obscure and fragmentary evidence from the end of 7th and 8th centuries. This dramatic difference has tended to obscure the more fluid, but nevertheless persistent evidence for economic activity on the much smaller and more local scale. Cities on Cyprus in the Prosperous 7th Century Any archaeological understanding of 7th and 8th century on Cyprus occurs at the intersection of larger regional consideration of settlement and the challenges and potential of the archaeological evidence. At the same time, scholars have had to accommodate the unique situation of Cyprus as both an island and one of the most highly urbanized places in the ancient world. Late Antiquity, in particular, witnessed a flourishing of Cypriot urbanism with both longstanding urban centers like Kourion,53 Salamis-Constantia,54 Paphos,55 and Soloi seeing major building projects and significant prosperity.56 These urban areas coincided with a group of new settlement that coincide with Dunns description of non-civic, urban areas. These densely built up centers like Ay. Georgios-Peyia and Pyla-Koutsopetria on the south coast of the island occupying places between village life and wellestablished cities while taking advantage of the thriving maritime networks that intersect on the island.57 Unfortunately, the invasion of 1974 cut off several important urban sites from continued study, and other sites remain published in only superficial or fragmented ways making it difficult to grasp the totality of Late Roman Cypriot urbanism. It is clear, for example, that cities enjoyed continued attention from the wealthy patrons Mwell into Late Antiquity. While the great era of church construction on Cyprus tends to be the 5th and
Megaw 2007 Stewart 2008, 63-72. 55 Megaw 1988. 56 Gagnier 1985 57 Bakirtsis 1985, 1986; Caraher et al. forthcoming.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION 6th centuries, it is likely that church building in urban areas continued into the first half of the 7th century. The basilicas constructed at this time tended to be smaller, but remained architecturally elaborate. The Acropolis basilica at Amathus featured an impressive atrium, porch, and ambulatory,58 and its particular form seems to have inspired the design of the South Basilica at PolisChrysochous (ancient Arsinoe) at the turn of the 7th century.59 The Amathus basilica likely had a high profile patron befitting its location and its use of spolia from the abandoned temple of Aphrodite at the site. Megaw, Stewart, and others have often argued that the modification of urban basilicas throughout the 7th century was a response to the destruction of earlier - mostly 5thc century - buildings, but the archaeological evidence for this is unpublished, grounded in architectural typologies, or completely absent.60 Whatever the reason for the transformation of basilicas on Cyprus, they represent the continued prestige of the church in these communities and their ability to marshal wealth. Bishops from Cyprus remained active in ecclesiastical politics through the 7th and 8th centuries61, with prominent figures like John the Almsgiver who was Patriarch of Alexandria in the early 7th century. In the 640s, Leontius of Neapoliss composed two significant saints lives, the Life of St. John the Almsgiver and the Life of Symeon the Holy Fool, set in Alexandria and the smaller urban areas in Syria respectively.62 Both of these texts depict prosperous, dynamic communities, but while the former acknowledged the first inklings of political and economic disruptions, the latter showed a world filled with craftsmen, business owners, trade, and community. Bishop Arcadius of SalamisConstantia both commissioned The Life of St. John the Almsgiver in the 640s, and also deployed the wealth of the church for civic affairs. Arcadius repaired the extensive aqueduct that fed the city from the foothills of the Troodos in the reign of Heraclius.63 The cities of Amathus, Paphos, and Salamis appear to have received fortification walls during the 7th century perhaps in response to either the threat of Arab raids or the earlier threat of the Persians.64 The extent, character, and date of these walls remains difficult to assess. The fortifications at Amathus appear to date to the reign of Heraclius.65 Megaw argued that Paphos saw a new fortification wall sometime during the 7 , but the arguments for the dates of these walls and exact course remains obscure with Metcalf being particularly critical of Megaws historical supositions.66 The walls at Salamis have generally been seen as a response to the Arab raids rather then in anticipation of them, but the dating evidence is problematic.67 In general, the fortification of these cities is consistent with practices across the Mediterranean that saw the contraction of urban areas into smaller, fortified encientes. Walls at Soloi and Lapethos likewise had walls that might date to the 7th century.68 The lack of archaeological evidence to date these walls or even clearly identify phases has made it impossible to associated these features with particular events or developments in urban planning.

Aupert 1996; Maguire 2012, 2.8-10. Caraher and Papalexandrou 2012. 60 Megaw 1946; Stewart 2008, 2010. 61 Dikigoropoulos 1965. 62 Kreuger 1996. 63 Kreuger 1996, ##-## 64 Ballandier 2002; Megaw 1985. 65 P. Aupert et P. Leriche 1988; Aupert 1996, 194-197. 66 Megaw 1972; Metcalf 284-285. 67 Stewart 2008, 73-74; Metcalf 2009, xx-xx. 68 Zavagno 2013, 8-9; Christides 2006, 21-xx.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION These transformations of the urban fabric provide only the narrowest windows into the end of Late Roman urban life. It is clear that civic urban sites and non-civic urban sites saw prosperity into the 7th century. The site of Polis-Chrysochous, ancient Arsinoe, has produced a massive assemblage of early 7th ceramics from a fill level associated with the South Basilica.69 This assemblage demonstrates local connections to the ceramic kilns at Dhiorios and locally produce Late Roman 1 amphoras. The assemblage also produced regional fine wares including a full range of LRD or Cypriot Red slip. Curiously, the assemblage produce a greater number of large LRD vessels, particularly the Form 12 and Form 8 bowls that appear only rarely elsewhere on the island. At the ex-urban site of Pyla-Koutsopetria on Larnaka bay, a built up area including at least one basilica extended for over xx ha along the coastal plain.70 The site represents an example of an noncivic, urban site like elsewhere on the south coast of the island. The assemblage demonstrated a much greater degree of Mediterranean connectivity into the 7th century with a wide range of imported fine wares from North Africa (African Red slip) and Asia Minor (LRC and LRD wares). The number of Dhiorios wares was vanishingly small indicating another source of cooking and kitchen wares perhaps either in the Levant or somewhere on the eastern half of the island. Evidence for economic activity comes from the massive assemblage of Late Roman 1 amphoras suggesting that this site served as a emporium for the local agricultural areas. The early 7th text called the Pratum Spirituale mentioned an emporium called Dadai on Cyprus which had a monastery with a particularly pious monk,71 and sites like Pyla-Koutsopetria, Dreamers Bay, or Ay. Georgios-Peyia represent other examples of this kind of built up site without civic identity. Challenges at the End of the 7th and 8th Centuries The limits of our evidence have a much more significant impact in our understanding of Cypriot urbanism in the second half of the 7th and the 8th centuries. The difficulties associated with identifying the Arab raids in the archaeological record and the persistent belief that these raids must have defined life on the island in this period have shaped in profound ways our understanding urbanism.72 It may be useful, however, to keep in mind Dikigoropouloss observation from 1961 that the destruction of wood-roofed basilicas need not have been caused by the Arab raids and might have just as easily been the result of an earthquake or some other disaster.73 More importantly, Dikigoropoulos noted that the decision not to rebuild these buildings, which evoked the apogee of Late Roman urbanism, was as much a result depopulation from the plague and responses to the changing economy.74 Thus, urban change emerges less as a catastrophic event and more as a process taking place over decades. Salamis-Constantia and Paphos have stood apart in considerations of late 7th and 8th urbanism on Cyprus. While neither city has received systematic excavation focusing on the 7th and 8th century, a mosaic of fragmentary evidence from these sites provides narrow windows into the life of these communities. For Salamis-Constantia, as we have noted, the city gained a new fortification wall that primarily encompassed the precinct of the church of St. Epiphanios, but excluded much of the ancient city. There were also a pair of cisterns constructed inside the walls to provide the
Caraher et al. Forthcoming. Caraher et al. Forthcoming. 71 Prat. Spirit. xx. 72 Zavagno 2011-2012, 121-122 for a summary of the traditional view. 73 Dikigoropoulos 1961. 74 Papacostas 212-214 for the so-called condominium churches
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION community with water in the event of a siege.75 Likewise there is evidence that the Huilerie complex which was originally house, was developed as an industrial complex including an oil press and the bath-gymnasium complex also saw some repairs and modifications.76 The church of St. Epiphanius saw rebuilding in the early 8th century and modifications sometime later according to C. Stewarts recent analysis.77 The Campanopetra basilica continued to stand outside the smaller enciente and attract visitors throughout the 7th and 8th century.78 The bishop of Salamis-Constantia remained a prominent figure in ecclesiastical politics and his see a safe harbor for those resisting the iconoclast policies advancing elsewhere in the Byzantine world.79 The community itself was wealthy and may have preserved many of its traditional trading relationships especially with the Levant.80 The pilgrim Willibald visited the churches at Paphos in 723 and left us his famous observations of the island where those Cypriots dwell between the Greeks and the Saracens, and were disarmed, because a great peace and friendship was then in force between the Saracens and the Greeks.81 The city of Paphos may have been the home of an Arab garrison after the conclusion of the second raid on the island in 653.82 Excavations in various areas of the post-Roman city do not provide a comprehensive picture of urban life, but evidence from Megaws excavations at Saranda Colonnes, the University of Sydneys work at Fabrika hill, and various excavations associated with the citys destroyed Early Christian basilicas show that the city continued as a nucleated settlement into the 7th and 8th centuries.83 It is likewise clear that the city saw an influx of Arab settlers and visitors in the aftermath of the Arab invasions.84 The prevalence of Arab inscriptions in the city, the apparent construction of a mosque there, and the appearance of Arab coins suggested to Megaw and others the presence of an Arab garrison in the city.85 Megaws suggestion that the Arab garrison divided the city into a Christian and Arab quarter rests on very limited evidence.86 The withdrawal of this garrison is 683 has some grounding in historical sources, but in general, the continued presence of Arab coins, particularly those excavated from the site of Saranda Kolones at Paphos,87 and Arabic inscription dated to the 8th century indicates that the Arab presence in the city was not exclusively tied to the military garrison.88 In fact, the continued appearance of Byzantine coins and inscriptions suggests that the situation at Paphos, like at Salamis-Constantia, may have more closely approximate the kind of middle ground recently appropriated by L. Zavagno in his study of the 7th to 9th on the island.89 The site of Kourion provides an alternate perspective on the nature of urban change in later 7th century Cyprus.90 The urban area of the site appears to have been largely abandoned by the final
Stewart 2008, 73. Zavagno 2011-12, 142; Yon 1980; Argoud et al. 1980 77 Stewart 2008. 78 Megaw 2006; Roux 1998. 79 Dikigoropoulos 1966 80 Zavagno; Metcalf 2009; Stewart 2008 81 GET CITE. 82 Zavagno 2013, 9-10; Megaw 1988; Christides 2006 xx-xx; But see Metcalf 2009, 285 retort. 83 Megaw 198x; Green et al 2004; Gabrieli et al. 2007; Rowe 2004. 84 Megaw xxxx; Metcalf 2009, Christides 2006 xx-xx. 85 Megaw 1988; Christides 2006 86 Metcalf 2009, 285. 87 Metcalf 2003, 88 Christides 2006, 51-xx. 89 Zavagno 2013. 90 Megaw 2007.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION quarter of the century. Dated on the basis of late issues of Constans II and a single coin of Justinian II, the major episcopal complex and basilica appear to have collapsed in the final decades of the 7th century probably as a result of an earthquake.91 Evidence survives for some ad hoc efforts to stabilized the damaged church and continued 8th century habitation on the basis of a handful of Arab coins dating to after 695, an Arab funerary inscription as well as some Byzantine small issues and lead seals including one of the Bishop Damianos from around 740.92 Megaw argues that most of the 8th evidence is the work of salvage operations and that the city was large abandoned because of the failure of the citys water supply after the late 7th century earthquake. This also prompted the moving of the episcopal seat to Episkopi with its barrel vaulted church at Serayia which included spolia from the episcopal precinct at Kourion.93 The evidence for occupation around the church at this site is quite scant. If we see the founding of the church at Episkopi as a separate matter from the complete abandonment of Kourion in the later 7th century, an image appears of the city that is startlingly similar to that at Paphos or even Salamis. The site appears to have endured significant decline in the closing decades of the 7th or start of the 8th century, but at the same time there is strong evidence for Arab and Christian interaction at the site throughout 8th century suggesting that the city continued to represent some appeal for settlement. The history of Cypriot urbanism in the later 7th and 8th centuries remains opaque. The absence of systematic archaeological excavation and the comprehensive publication of excavated sites presents only a fragmented image of Early Byzantine urban life. Despite these limitations, we can see some general directions. First, as events, the Arab raids had far less of an effect on urban areas than conventional wisdom would have us believe. It is clear that the sites of Salamis-Constantia, Paphos, Soloi, and even Kourion recovered to some extent from either raids or seismic events. Soon to be published evidence from the urban site of Polis-Chrysochous shows continuous modification of church architecture into the 8th century.94 Next, we can see that urban sites became places for interaction between Arabs and Christians on the island. Traditional views of the Arab presence on Cyprus looked for evidence of a garrison or military occupation in the 7th century. The evidence from urban centers, however fragmentary it is at present, would seem to indicate that Arab speaking civilians spent time on the island, engaged in economic activity, and perhaps even settled in urban areas on the island. Finally, Cypriot cities seem to have maintained economic and political connections with the wider Mediterranean world throughout this period. If Cypriot urbanism historically depended in part upon the islands position astride trade routes and the islands connection to the wider region, the transformation of the political and economic networks in the region, including the rise of Arab involvement in trade and the political and military instability as Cyprus became a middle ground between two different political systems, invariably shaped the character of Cypriot cities.95 The Cypriot Countryside The same problems with evidence that impact our understanding of the 7th and 8th century urban landscapes exist for our understanding of settlement in the countryside. The first two-thirds of the 7th century are a continuation of the prosperity of Late Antiquity. Marcus Rautman aptly
Megaw 2007, xx-xx Dunn (in Megaw) 2007, xx-xx 93 Megaw 1993. 94 Caraher et al. forthcoming 95 Zavagno 2013.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION describes rural Cyprus of this era as a busy countryside.96 David Pettegrew in describing this period in Greece, noted that our ability to recognize widely distributed and abundant Late Roman ceramic types, like transport vessels with ridges or grooves or highly diagnostic red slip wares, complicating comparisons between the highly visible Late Roman landscape and the less visible countryside.97 Pettegrew does well to identify the difficulty of studying the Late Roman landscape at the precise intersection of archaeological methods and historical processes. While he does not provide a simple solution to this problem, he nevertheless offers a key reminder that the nature of rural land use and economic integration often dictates its visibility in the countryside. A Prosperous Countryside For much of 6th and 7th century, the countryside of Cyprus was densely occupied. Building on the basic organization of rural settlement established under centuries of Roman rule and the resulting economic integration of the Eastern Mediterranean, Late Roman settlement represented a continuation and intensification of rural land use and settlement.98 Extensive and intensive pedestrian survey and excavation have documented Late Roman activity on landscapes from the Troodos mountains to valleys and coastal plains of the southern coast.99 It is probably not an exaggeration to say that the Cypriot countryside is among the best documented landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, the chronology, function, and character of rural activities remain hampered by some of the same chronological and methodological limitation that have shaped our knowledge of urban areas. As many scholars have noted, the quality of unstratified surface data depends in large part on the quality of well-published, stratified deposits.100 While Cyprus is unique in possessing a number of excavated rural sites, they have still only provided the narrowest windows into the character of 7th century settlement across the island. We have already discussed the emergence of built-up, urban, non-civic sites that exceed 10 ha in size on the island like Pyla-Koutsoptria or Ay. Georgios-Peyia in the 6th and 7th century. These sites almost certainly represent emporia through which local agricultural goods entered the Mediterranean market and important agricultural products, table wares, and other commodities came onto the island. The massive quantities of Late Roman 1 amphora at Pyla-Koutsopetria on Larnaka bay, for example, suggests that site functioned to export olive oil and possibly wine. A similar scatter of LR1 sherds appears at Dreamers Bay, another emporium type site on the south coast of Cyprus, indicates that these coastal sites may have served similar functions across the island.101 It seems probable that these emporia complemented the existing urban areas along the coast to support both local trade as well as the demands placed by the state on Cypriot producers. The incorporation of Cyprus into the quaestura Iustiniani exercitus along with parts of the Balkans and Aegean clearly oriented some part of the economy toward the west.102 Likewise, Bakirtsis has seen the development of the coastal site of Peyia as a response to the movement of annona from Egypt to Constantinople.103 The growing corpus of evidence from shipwrecks and offshore assemblages along

Rautman 2000 Pettegrew 2007 98 Leonard 2005; Rautman 2003. 99 Footnote with all the survey projects in it. 100 Sanders 2005 for this important critique. 101 Leonard and Demesticha 2004. 102 Chrysos 1993; Lokin 1986. SOMETHING ON THE USE OF LR1 Amphore HERE. 103 Bakirtsis 1995.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION the Cyprus coast indicates that cabotage continued as well.104 The development of these emporia in the countryside undoubtedly reflect the vibrancy of the regional trade, the productivity of the Cypriot countryside, and the demands placed on the island by the state. Further inland from these large, well-developed areas, smaller villages populated the river valleys along the south slope of the Troodos mountains. Village sites like Kopetra in the Kalavassos Valley or, in hinterland of Kourion at Alassa, represent a second level of settlement that likely served as both a primary production sites as well as points of contact between the coastal economy and sites situated on unproductive ground and involved with the extraction of copper from the slopes of the Troodos.105 Rautmans excavations at Kopetra demonstrated that village life was relatively well integrated in local, regional, and trans-mediterranean economies. Imported fine wares, transport amphora, Dhiorios type cooking pots as well as more locally produced handmade pottery demonstrate the range of economic connection that shaped the character of village level settlement on Cyprus. Similar assemblages appeared at the rural site of Panyia-Ematousa in the hinterland of ancient Kition.106 The material from these sites dates to at least as late as the middle decades of the 7th century. In short, the few village sites systematically excavated on Cyprus reveal communities engaged in a wide range of economic relationships and embedded in the Mediterranean economy. The presence of imported fine wares in areas documented through intensive pedestrian survey suggests that fine wares are not concentrated just at village sites. While we have not securely identified villae rusticae in the Cypriot countryside, it seems probable that they existed particularly on the coastal plains where a certain amount of monoculture allowed for economies of scale. The villa rustica situated on the arid Akamas peninsula site of Ay. Kononas may represent the exploitation of marginal areas suitable to niche farming strategies that that dependent upon strong extraregional connections for staples.107 Monasteries represent another kind of rural activity on a similar scale and material signature as villae rusticae or even small settlements.108 Rautman argued that the site of Sirmata at Kalavassos-Kopetra likely represented a monastic establishment, and as we have noted, textual sources indicate that other monastic establishments existed on the island dating to the 7th century.109 Production sites like the kilns at Dhiorios or those on the coast near the town of Zygi and the recent evidence for extractive activities in the Troodos indicate that Late Roman period witnessed ongoing, non-agricultural production on a significant scale.110 Finally, most of the large scale surveys on the island have produced a massive quantity of small (<2 ha) farmsteads.111 While the functional identification of small scatters of artifacts, particular from less systematic and extensive type surveys, remains open to dispute,112 the widespread identification of Late Roman to Early Byzantine material in the landscape justifies Rautmans famous claim that Cyprus was a busy countryside. The intensive use of the 7th century landscape reflects the deep integration of the island in the Mediterranean economy. The visibility of Late Roman and Early Byzantine ceramics, particular the twisted handles of Late Roman 1 amphora and the well-made Late Roman red slips, and the wide distribution across the Cypriot landscape.
The Wanger 2013. Rauman 2003; Flourentzos 1996. 106 Lund 2006; Jacobson 2006. 107 Papacostas 2001. 108 Papacostas 1999, ###-###. 109 Rautman 2003, ##-## 110 Catling 1972; KILN SOURCE? 111 Rautman 2003, ##-##. 112 Pettegrew JMA
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION The landscape of Cyprus through the middle decades of the 7th reflects the combination of highly visible artifact types, a sustained period of political and economic stability, and imperial policies that created outlets for Cypriot agricultural, mineral, and ceramic outputs. Unlike the Balkan provinces, there is little evidence for direct, imperial investment in the Cypriot countryside although the poorly documented fortifications along the Kyrenia range may well have Late Roman phases.113 The settlement of Armenian mercenaries on the island reported in texts appear to have left no archaeological traces.114 Conclusion: A Contingent Cyprus By the end of the 7th or the first quarter of the 8th the structure of rural settlement on the island appears have undergone a radical change. Regional survey has produced very few rural sites conclusively dated to later than the first quarter of the 8th, but this is consistent with ongoing challenges in dating Early Byzantine ceramics and the lack of stratigraphic context for surface finds. Excavated sites with better chronological control, like Kalavassos-Kopetra,115 the village near Alassa,116 or the Ay. Kononas on the Akamas, appear to have been abandoned by the start of the 8th century.117 Production sites like Dhiorios continued further into the 8th,118 and there is no reason to imagine that the site of Kornos cave did not continue into the latest decades of this century.119 The coastal site of Pyla-Koutsopetria and Ay. Georgios-Peyia appear to have been abandoned by the start of the 8th century. Elsewhere the Cypriot countryside shows signs of continued activity. For example, we can date, albeit in a tentative way, the series of small, barrel-vaulted churches on the Karpas Peninsula. Charles Stewart has argued in the basis of the phasing of the buildings and comparanda elsewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean that the barrel-vaulted churches date to at least to the 8th century and perhaps as late as the 9th.120 While we should probably be hesitant to accept the dates of buildings on the basis of architecture alone, the date assigned by Stewart is rather more conservative and later than pervious scholars have assigned, and it suggests that communities on the Karpas continued not only to exist, but to invest in architectural innovation. This short list of exceptions, however, does little to displace the general impression of settlement contraction, and economic and demographic decline in the 8th century. The causes for the contraction of settlement in the countryside are both archaeological and historical. The inscription from the church at Soloi claimed that 120,000 individuals were taken by Arab raids from the island.121 While this number is likely outside the range of possibility,122 it does suggest that the Arab raids removed a part of the population as slaves throughout the 7th century.123 The long tail of the so-called Justinianic plague also had a probably impact on the overall population of the island as the hasty burial of 21 individuals in the Kopetra cistern might suggest.124 It is
Balandier 2002. Kyrris 1970. 115 Rautman 2003 116 Flourentzos 1996. 117 Feifer and Hayes 1995 118 Catling 1972; Armstrong 2009. 119 Catling 1970; Armstrong 2009. 120 Stewart 2008; 2010. 121 Des Gagniers and Tinh 1985, 115-125. 122 Metcalf 2009, 400-401; Papacostas 1999, 24. 123 Zavagno 2010-2011, 152; McCormick 2001 for the possible significance of slaves and their archaeological invisibility. 124 Fox 2003.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION impossible to assess the effect of events like the unusual and poorly understood effort by the Emperor Justinian II to relocate the population of the island to the Hellespont in the final decade of the 7th century. Likewise, we have little idea how the influx of refugees from iconoclast persecutions impacted settlement on the island,125 or how the departure of individuals voluntarily or involuntarily must have transformed the landscape. What we can observe, however, is that settlement in the countryside, just like in urban areas, entered a period of significant instability. The economic boom of the 6th and 7th centuries was fed at least in part by key location of Cyprus in the ongoing geopolitical and economic drama of the era. The the impact of the annona trade, the transfer of Cyprus to the quaestura Iustiniani exercitus, the arrival of Heraclius, and the Persian War all created opportunities for Cypriot producers to engage with a larger economy spurred by imperial policy. Likewise, the longstanding stability of the Roman East produced a responsive settlement structure prepared to accommodate expansion and intensification under imperial and historical pressures. With the end of the annona and the fall of Egypt, with the decline in Byzantine military activity in the East, and with the military and political disruptions of large-scale economic contact with communities in Asia Minor, Syria, and the Levant,126 the conditions that produced the Late Roman settlement boom disappeared. This did not mean that the long standing economic relationships vanished over night as the presence of Arab coins on the island,127 the continued production of ceramics for export at Dhiorios, and the persistent building activity on the Karpas peninsula and urban sites showed. As much as the 8th century might appear to represent a significant decline in the intensity of activity on Cyprus, we might be more prudent to observe that the busy countryside of the 6thc and 7th centuries were the exception. Finally, the tools that archaeologist have at their disposal to understand landscapes marked by demographic and economic contingency remain crude. As is noted throughout this volume, ceramic chronologies continue to drift later as archaeologists continue to publish more stratigraphic contexts. Numismatic dating offers a different set of problems based as much on how archaeologists have interpreted coins as how coins circulated in Cypriot communities. Excavators and survey archaeologists alike have struggled to recognize evidence for short term or contingent settlement on Cyprus. In times of economic and demographic instability, we expect settlement strategies to become more opportunistic as markets for produce underwent change and access to resources shifted across the island. The use of handmade pottery, documented by M. Rautman at sites across Cyprus from as early as the middle decades of the 7th century,128 reveals that communities had already developed local practices to manage the relatively modest risk associated with dependency on imported cooking wares. It seems likely that very small coins, nummi or minimi, continued to circulate on Cyprus even as access to larger imperial issues declined precipitously as administrative trade and military activities in the region abated. Careful excavation has only begun to reveal the persistent stirring of economic and political life in the urban areas on the island. It is particularly important to recognize that a dynamic, contingent economy in the countryside may remain virtually undetectable to intensive survey methods. Short terms, contingent activity calculated to weigh any investment carefully against opportunities presented in a changing world is almost predestined to leave little trace in the surface record which is so vital to regional level studies
Metcalf 2009 Kennedy 2010; Walmsley 2007; 2008 for a more substantial understanding of the economy of Early Islamic Syria. 127 Zavagno 2010-2011, 144; 2011; 2013. 128 Rautman 1998.
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WORKING DRAFT. MARCH 29, 2014. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT PERMISSION of rural landscapes. This is exaggerated all the more by the abundance of material associated with Late Roman settlement prior to the end of the 7th century. The 5th to 7th century economic boom appears to have represented systematic, longterm investment in the landscape in response to sustained economic opportunities and relative political stability. The abundance of material reflects both chronologically and spatially extensive and intensive activities in the landscape associated with production for export, integrated economic relationships between, for example, copper production and agricultural areas, and administrative pressures on the economy that directed production toward the needs of the capital and the military. By the end of the 7th century, the opportunities and motivations for intensive investment in the landscape had diminished significantly. In this situation, the economic activity on the island and the structure of settlement may have taken on a more opportunistic appearance. The impetus to invest intensively in rural sites reduced the need to engage in practices that would make these sites visible to archaeologists, ranging from the use of imported fine wares to the construction of monumental buildings in villages. To say that the economy of Cyprus declined, then, risks misunderstanding the complex intersection between archaeological evidence and activities in the past. The disruption of intensive economic networks that existed in the Late Roman Eastern Mediterranean compromised our ability as archaeologist to recognize settlement. It did not, necessarily, compromise the settlement on the island, but the faint traces of evidence for life on Cyprus in the 8th century provides an enticing challenge for a more sensitized archaeological practice.