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Architecture and Assemblage at Polis-Chrysochous on Cyprus


William Caraher, University of North Dakota
Delivered at the University of Colorado, Boulder
November 12, 2014
Introduction
Last summer, I was fortunately to work alongside Sarah James,
Dimitri Nakassis, and a team of extraordinary University of Colorado
undergraduate and graduate students on the Western Argolid
Regional Project It was undoubtedly the most intellectually and
physically rigorous two months of my life. During this time, I spoke
periodically (ok, constantly) about my work on Cyprus as a point of
reference for our work in the Argiolid. Most of my colleagues
probably got tired to hearing about Cyprus and began to wonder
whether my work in Cyprus was a bit like my girlfriend in
Canada. So, it is a particular pleasure to present my research on
Cyprus to some of the people from whom I learned so much this
summer, and very scary to present arguments based on ceramics data
with both Sarah James and Brandon Olson in the audience!
My talk today will focus on two sites on Cyprus where I have done
field work over the last decade: Polis-Chrysochous and PylaKoutsopetria. [SLIDE2] Both sites have important Late Roman
phases including early Christian basilicas, domestic architecture,

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production facilities, and substantial assemblages of transport


amphora, fine ware, and utility wares. My understanding of these sites
is a product of the hard work of myriad student volunteers and
continuous collaboration with R. Scott Moore, Brandon Olson, and
Amy Papalexandrou at Polis and Scott, Brandon, David Pettegrew,
and Dimitri Nakassis at Pyla-Koutsopetria.
Part of my interest in working at Polis and Koutsopetria has been
to use Late Antique Cyprus as a way to think about Late Roman
communities both on Cyprus and in the Eastern Mediterranean more
broadly. [SLIDE3] Recent scholarship on the island has emphasized
how its insularity made it an important regional crossroads in the
Roman and Late Roman Eastern Mediterranean. The position of
Cyprus provides a vital context for understanding how communities
on Cyprus crafted their identities within the material limits of the
Late Roman economy especially since we have very little in the way
of literary or textual sources for the Late Roman period on the island
[SLIDE4]. Spectacular archaeological finds like the House of
Dionysos at Paphos has indicated that the elite on the island were
thoroughly Romanized by the 3rd century AD, and shared the
language, aesthetics, and values associated with elite paideia in the
Late Antique world. For non-elite groups, however, the evidence for
understanding how these communities represented themselves
remains more obscure. Recent work in North Africa, for example,

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has shown that peasant communities in the the 5th century increased
consumption of fine red-slipped table wares and changed in their
domestic architecture in an effort to negotiate their relationship with
Roman landowners in the the region. Scholars have also recognized
the subtle variation of architectural forms associated with early
Christian ritual as a way for groups to represent their relationship to
the institutional authority of the church.
The use of material culture to understand the relationships
between groups or how communities or even individuals represented
themselves is difficult. It asks us as archaeologists to make the leap
from objects to critical consideration of the past practices (both
archaeological and historical) that created the archaeological record.
Ill avoid the term communities of practice or Pierre Bourdieus
habitus for today, as unnecessary theorizing in the face of some
complicated archaeological evidence, but these concepts do serve to
articulate the gap between practices (or at least evidence for practices)
and underlying the social relationships that constitute communities.
In an archaeological context, linking practice to culture is always
messy and problematic, so the arguments in this paper will be messy
and, at times, seem to beg for alternate interpretations. I trust my
friendly hosts tonight will nevertheless see the value in this
exploration and perhaps even help me clarify my understanding of
Late Roman Cypriot society.

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This paper has two parts. First, Im going to consider the


archaeology and architecture of a building called the South Basilica
at Polis in relation to other churches of a similar date and style on the
island. [SLIDE5] Then, Im going to look at a rather extraordinary
assemblage of pottery associated with this church and compare it to
assemblages from across the island to attempt to understand how
various communities across the island constructed their identity. At
best, this will be profoundly convincing; at worst, youll think that I
went and took a tidy little archaeological paper a little too far.
Since 2010, Ive been working with the Princeton Cyprus
Expedition at the site of Polis-Chrysochous, ancient Arsinoe, in the
northwestern corner of the island. Settled during the Neolithic and
called Marion during the Iron Age, Ptolemy Philadelphus refounded
the city as Arisnoe during the chaotic Hellenistic period on the island.
During the Late Roman period the city was the seat of a bishop and
had at least three basilica style churches, two of which were excavated
by the Princeton Cyprus Expedition in the 1980s and 1990s. Amy
Papalexandrou, Scott Moore, Brandon Olson and I are working to
publish the churches from the site. [SLIDE6] We have so far focused
on the church that weve designated the South Basilica. The remains
of this church stands in a built up zone of the Late Antique city called
by the excavators E.F2. It included several phases of architecture,

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numerous burials, elaborate water works, and city streets.


Methodological Interlude
[SLIDE7] Before we proceed with my analysis, I feel like I should
include a brief word on our methods. Our work has focused on the
re-study the architecture of the South Basilica which was originally
discussed by Danny Curcic in a series of papers in the mid-1980s. We
planned to bring greater attention to the stratigraphic record to bear
on Curcics largely typological, architectural analysis with a particular
interest in producing archaeological dates for the various
modifications to the churchs plan and structure. Over the past three
years, a team of scholars has worked to create a series of digital
documents useful for the analysis of the site. The first step was to
digitize the analogue notebooks produced over the course of the
original excavation. The site was excavated according to trenches
which were then subdivided into levels and passes. In general, levels
represented either stratigraphic or horizontal divisions in each trench
and passes provided greater resolution. Because several levels could
be open simultaneously across the trench, the excavators frequently
disregarded the last in, first out rule in excavation in favor of a more
ad hoc approach. As a result, the description of each level appeared
scattered throughout each trenchs notebook recorded more or less
in the order that the excavator worked on the level. This made it very

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difficult to reconstruct the stratigraphy of a trench or even to


understand the archaeological relationship between levels.
Fortunately, the Princeton Cyprus Expedition has scanned nearly all
the notebooks and images collected over the 30 years of activity at
the site. We used the scanned notebook as the basis for our
transcription of the level and pass descriptions from the trenches in
immediate vicinity of the South Basilica. This allowed us to
reorganize the data according to stratigraphic relationship and to
produce Harris Matrixes for each trench.
[SLIDE8] We also prepared a digital site plan for the area of the
South Basilica based on the plans produced by the projects architects
and the regular trench plans produced over the course of excavation.
This allowed us to relate walls removed over the course of excavation
or across several trenches (or even years) and begin to correlate
certain stratigraphic units across the entire site. All this was done in
ArcGIS which provided us with a flexible workspace for the analysis
of horizontal relationships. The digitized notebooks and GIS have
allowed us to produce georeferenced descriptions of the excavation
process. Our work is not quite done, but we hope that this opens the
doors to unique opportunities for publishing both the excavation
data and our analysis. We are particularly sanguine about the
prospects of integrating 3D photogrammetry with our digitized
notebook data, but our work along these lines remains in its early

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stages.
[SLIDE8] At the same time that we worked to organize the
excavation notebooks and plans, we set about studying the context
pottery from the excavations. During the excavations, trench
supervisors and specialists identified and recorded separately highly
diagnostic pottery and other individually significant artifacts (coins,
lamps, architectural fragments, et c.). The remaining pottery was
quickly documented, undiagnostic sherds discarded, and a
representative sample kept for future study. This sample included
most feature sherds, rims, handles, bases, and some examples of
distinct fabrics. These artifacts had not been studied systematically
for the area around the South Basilica and in 2010, R. Scott Moore
and myself used our reconstruction of the sites stratigraphy as the
basis for the study the context pottery. Over the past three years, we
have documented over 20,000 artifacts from the excavations and
created a database that integrates these artifacts with the stratigraphy
and the existing inventoried finds. This database provides the basic
structure for my study today.
Id like to start with the Early Christian basilica at the site.
[SLIDE10]
The South Basilica at Polis-Chrysochous is merely one of over 100

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known Early Christian basilicas on the island of Cyprus and one of


the thousands that dot the Eastern Mediterranean and date to the 5th7th centuries [SLIDE11]. Even small communities often featured
multiple basilicas. It is unremarkable, then, that the site of Polis has at
least three basilicas. What is somewhat more remarkable, however, is
that two of these churches, the South Basilica and the yet unnamed
basilica in the area named E.G0, were excavated systematically. These
two buildings join a disappointingly small group of churches that
enjoyed careful excavation and study on Cyprus. More interestingly,
both of these buildings appear to have enjoyed a rather long-life
span. The South Basilica, which we have studied most extensively,
appears to have stood at least as late as the 10th or 11th century with
significant modifications throughout its history.
The first two major phases of the church are Late Antique. The
first phases consisted of only the central nave and two flanking aisle
terminating in apses [SLIDE12/13]. Such simple churches were
common on Cyprus and across the Eastern Mediterranean. The
foundation cuts for the main apse did not produce any diagnostic
pottery. We were, however, able to date levels below the church. It
appears that the entire area around the South Basilica was leveled
prior to the construction of the church and the ceramics in this
leveling course, which came from deep soundings below the south
nave and south aisle wall. [SLIDE14] The latest ceramics in the fills

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below the foundations of the nave and aisle walls are the inelegantlynamed Cypriot Red Slip forms 9B, 11, and 2. These types tend to
date to the second half of the 6th century. The appearance of later
6th century material in lower fills near the south nave and aisle walls
provides a terminus post quem. In other words, we can probably date
the first phase of the church to the later 6th century. As I will argue
in just a minute, the second phase of the church dates to the first half
of the 7th century and this provides a terminus ante quem for the
buildings initial construction.
[SLIDE15] With the second phase of the building, things get more
interesting both in terms of the architecture and the archaeology. The
church received a western narthex and a long portico that ran along
its south side. The narthex and the south portico both featured a
series of arched openings, and they joined in a room at the
southwestern corner of the church. In addition, the central nave gains
some significant structural reinforcements at this time. A series of
five buttresses were set against both sides of the north and south
walls of the church. It is interesting to note that the north and south
aisle walls did not appear to receive any reinforcement. It seems
likely, then, that the these buttresses supported a series of arches for
a vaulted roof over the central nave. The original nave walls were
relatively thin indicating that they probably supported a wood roof,
and we can expect that the aisles, which would have stood lower and

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than the main nave, probably kept their wooded, shed roofs even in
the second phase.
The way we dated this phase was pretty exciting (from an
archaeological perspective). It involved a careful study of both the
architecture and the ceramics found in trenches associated with the
modifications to the building. [SLIDE16] The most dramatic feature
that we have associated with the second phase of the South Basilica is
a vast leveling course of cobble sized stones and rubble along the
south wall of the church. While Ill return to discussing this feature
later, it is important to understand that there was no foundation cut
visible in this level for the south aisle wall. In other words, the south
aisle wall predated this rubble fill which became the foundation for
the south portico. [SLIDE17] The south portico, in turn, is
contemporary with the narthex, and these two features are
structurally and architecturally dependent upon one another.
Moreover, excavation along the west wall of the narthex and in the
large cobble and rubble fill near the south aisle and under the south
portico produced a very similar assemblage of pottery. [SLIDE18]
Both trenches produced Cypriot Red Slip shapes called well forms
after their discovery in a sealed well deposit at Anemurium in Cilicia
dating to around 630. Moreover the trenches included the usual array
of other contemporary and earlier Cypriot Red Slip forms including
1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Coins in the cobble and rubble fill include a

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coin of Maurice (582-602) and reinforce the 7th century date for the
south portico and narthex.
This is where things get really cool (you know, for an
archaeologist). [SLIDE19] In 1995, the Polis project excavated the
foundation cut associated with the construction of one of the
buttresses along the north wall of the nave. This excavation produced
a small assemblage of Cypriot Red Slip pottery including a base with
a stamped cross. [SLIDE20] This piece of pottery joined with a base
found in the cobble and rubble level under the south portico making
the deposit of these two sherds almost certainly contemporary. This
allows us to link the construction of the narthex, south portico, and
the nave buttresses to a single phase of construction. Several other
deposits from the north aisle and from the vicinity of a pair of rooms
to the southeast of the basilica confirm a 7th century date for
significant building activity at the church.
The transformation of the church from a wood-roofed to barrelvaulted basilica places this building in a small group of churches on
Cyprus that underwent this transformation. Based on the evidence
from excavation, it appears that our church at Polis is the earliest
(and perhaps only) datable church representing this phenomenon.
[SLIDE21] It is worth noting, however, that this building stood
outside of the traditional group of early vaulted basilicas on the

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Karpas Peninsula which have attracted the attention of archaeologists


since the mid-20th century. Unfortunately, the walls are not
preserved above the level of the foundation making it difficult to
understand the exact modifications that the church endured. For
example, it would be useful to know whether the nave walls received
arches or solid walls between the buttresses. Despite these
limitations, it seems fair to assume that the builders at Polis had some
familiarity with the kind of modifications of churches that appears,
perhaps at around the same time, on the Karpas Peninsula on the
opposite corner of the island or perhaps the Episkopi basilica near
Kourion which appears to have been barrel-vaulted as well.
[SLIDE22] The South Basilica shares similar dimensions with the
North Basilica (Church III) at site of Ay. Georgios-Peyia about 10
km to the south. The North basilica at Peyia has interior length of
14.5 m and a width of 11.2 produce a ratio of length to width of 1.29.
This church remains largely unpublished, but likely dates to the 7th
century. The South Basilica at Polis has dimensions of 14.6 by 11.3 m
wide (23 m x 12.5 m overall). [SLIDE23] Despite the similarities in
overall dimensions the churches at Peyia, the ratio of nave to aisles is
more in keeping with the church at Acropolis basilica Amathus
whose nave shares roughly similar dimensions. The interior width of
the nave at Amathus was 6 m wide and the South Basilica was 5 m in
width with aisles of 3 m and 2.5 m wide respectively. This 1:2:1 ratio

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of nave to aisles is a common for basilicas in Cyprus. The churches at


Peyia have, generally speaking, wider central naves with proportions
of 1:2.6:1.
[SLIDE24] Unfortunately, the Peyia and Amathus churches have
not received comprehensive publication so it is impossible to speak
to their construction history. It does appear, however, that both
buildings are either contemporary or slightly earlier than the second
phase of the South Basilica marking them both among the last largescale wood-roofed basilicas constructed on the island. It seems
unlikely that the Amathus Acropolis church post-dates the
refurbishment of the main nave and the addition of the narthex and
portico to the South Basilica. It may well be that the additions to the
South Basilica sought to imitate the prominent Acropolis basilica at
Amathus and the very basic similarities in shape. Both churches share
a five-sided exterior to the main apse.
The South Basilica presents itself as a hybrid building drawing
influences from nearby churches and from larger trends in
architecture on the island. The original church likely shared basic
dimensions similar to those at Peyia, but adopted the most customary
1:2:1 ration of nave to aisles on the island. The reconstructed church
saw the addition of a south facing porch and narthex that appears to
consciously evoke the Acropolis Church at Amathus. The parallels

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between the Amathus acropolis church and the South Basilica might
relate the formers status as a pilgrimage church. The visibility of this
monument on the island likely made it an appealing target for
imitation and perhaps connected the activities of a saint or some
aspect of that saints veneration at Polis and Amathus.
[SLIDE25] It is appealing to speculate on the relationship between
the second phase of the South Basilica at Polis and the events that
took place just north at the site of Soloi. According to a dated
inscription, the basilica was destroyed during Arab raids of 649 and
subsequently repaired. Perhaps the the rebuilding of the Polis church
was contemporary with the repairs to the Soloi basilica which
involved a repaired roof but without a change to the basic structure.
If we link the rebuilding of churches on the Karpas to Arab raids in
that region and the tendency of wood-roofed churches to burn easily,
and it is tempting to see the repairs at Polis as part of the larger
response to a particular threat. Moreover, a recently published body
of inscriptions from Polis indicate that the site remained closely
linked to the capital at Constantinople and urban centers in Anatolia
into the 8th century.
[SLIDE26/27/28] If the architectural history of Polis conjured
architecture through connections with Soloi, its southern neighbor at
Peyia, as well as the far northeastern corners of Cyprus, and the

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central coast, the ceramic evidence from Polis tells a slightly broader
story. The substantial rubble and cobble level associated with the
second phase of the basilica produced a massive assemblage of
Roman and Late Roman period pottery. Archaeologists refer to
assemblages found in fills as residual or in secondary context. This
assemblage of pottery, then, does not reflect activities associated with
the intended use of the ceramic vessels, but rather discard practices
that likely brought together material from a wide range of areas
across the site and dumped it together to produce the rubble fill. This
residual assemblage, then, represents a wide range of activities up
until the point when it dumped into the leveling fill of the south
portico and atrium.
[SLIDE29] This residual assemblage produced over 3000 sherds
of pottery and a substantial amount of diagnostic material. Historical
periods from the Iron Age to the Late Roman are represented in this
residual assemblage, but nearly 80% (or 2000 sherds) of the
diagnostic material dates to the Roman or Late Roman period. Sherds
dating to the Late Roman period (4th-7th century AD) make up nearly
half the Roman assemblage and provides us with a substantial crosssection of functions ranging from trade to domestic life at Polis.
[SLIDE30] The most substantial (and perhaps most interesting)
group of material in the fill were fine wares, which accounted for

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close to 40% of the total assemblage of Late Roman material. We


encountered an overwhelming quantity of Cypriot Red Slip. This is a
tableware (technically a fabric type) that is rather common in the
Eastern Mediterranean typically as a component of an assemblage
alongside the more widespread African Red Slip and Phocaean Red
Slip (LRC) wares. In the South Basilica residual assemblage from
Polis, Cypriot Red Slip comprised a staggering 97% of all fine ware.
The distribution of different shapes in this fabric conforms rather
closely to assemblages of Cypriot Red Slip found elsewhere on the
island. The most common type is the long-lived Form 9 which
appeared with significant variations, most of which also occur at
nearby Paphos (Meyza 2007). The presence of Form 1, which is the
earliest form of CRS with examples dating to the 4th century, and
Form 2, which falls out of production by the middle of the 5th
century, speaks to the diachronic nature of our assemblage at Polis.
[SLIDE31] The main difference between the distribution of
Cypriot Red Slip forms at Polis is the greater percentage of Forms 7,
8, and 11 which appear far more frequently at Polis than elsewhere in
the region and on the island. [SLIDE32] Form 11 in our assemblage
feature large folded rims with a distinct groove on the outside of the
vessel where the rim folds over the body. We had trouble finding
similar examples of this from anywhere in the region. The best we
could find is an example from Anemurium but it is not a perfect

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match (Williams 1992). Form 7 and 8 tend to feature flat rims with
multiple grooves, but they do not appear with as much variation as
this form does elsewhere on the island. Form 7, 8, and 11 are the
largest vessels in CRS fabric and some scholars have suggested that
large vessels tend to travel less distance from their production sites,
and the relatively utilitarian character of these larger basins might
make this even more the case. So, the large quantity of this material
at Polis might hint at the presence of a production site in the far west
of the island.
[SLIDE33] We can add a little more to this argument: The Form
11 with the heavy, folded, rim does not appear among the types
associated with the kilns recently published in Pamphylia in Asia
Minor, and the Polis Form 7s and 8s do not appear to have obvious
parallels with those same forms at the Pamphylian kilns. The
frequency of Form 8 and Form 11 in our assemblage, does suggest
that our site is rather late in the CRS production history, and the
latest material in the residual fill is more or less contemporary with
Pamphylian kiln. Both the kiln and the fill from the rooms southeast
of the basilica also produced examples of "well form" CRS which
were produced as late as the first half of the 7th century.
[SLIDE34] When we consider the Polis assemblage in the context
of the island, more curious variation appears. In the nearby

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Canadian-Paliopaphos Survey Project (CPSP), these three shapes (7,


8, and 11) make up less than 3% of the total assemblage of CRS. At
Polis, these three forms account for almost half of our assemblage of
CRS. While this might be explained, partially, by the slightly later
character of our residual assemblage (making some of the earlier
material in tertiary context rather than simply secondary), this might
explain the substantially different proportions of CRS between the
two assemblages, but does little to explain the rarity of these forms
from the neighborhood of Paphos. It is interesting that inland sites in
this survey appear to have produced more of the imported Phocaean
ware (or LRC from Asia Minor), and Ill return to that in a few
minutes.
[SLIDE35] Further west, the two excavated basilicas at the Late
Roman village site of Kopetra produced a group of Late Roman
fineware that is nearly contemporary with that from Polis. Unlike the
South Basilica assemblage from Polis, the assemblage from Kopetra,
which is largely residual as well, included significant quantities of
imported fine wares from North Africa (name African Red Slip or
ARS) and the coast of Asia Minor (LRC). CRS remains the most
significant fineware present at the site, with Form 9 as the most
common and not insignificant quantities of Form 11, but Forms 7
and 8 were more rare. Moreover, African Red Slip accounted for
6.85% and Phocaean wares for over 1/3rd of the assemblage.

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Interestingly Kopetra is an inland site situated in the Kalavassos


valley that extends from the coast to the copper mining regions in the
Troodos Mountain foothills. [SLIDE36] The nearby, contemporary
coastal site of Maroni-Petrera which stood near the mouth of the
Kalavassos valley produced significantly lower percentage of
imported fine ware with over 80% of the assemblage being CRS.
[SLIDE37] The odd pattern of CRS being less common at inland
sites continues further east on the island. At the inland site of
Panayia-Ematousa east of the modern city of Larnaka, LRC ware
accounts for close to 60% of the total assemblage of Late Roman
fine ware, and Cypriot Red Slip in contrast tallies only a little over
20% and African Red Slip at around 15%. The massive supply of
Phocaean ware in the eastern half of the Mediterranean (particular
such long lived forms at the Form 3 plate) may account for the
significant presence of LRC at Panayia-Ematousa, but does not
necessarily explain why quantities of CRS, which was also wellsupplied to the island, are so proportionately low.
[SLIDE38, 39, 40, 41, 42] Moving back to the coast, the site of
Pyla-Koutsopetria on Larnaka Bay provides a final case study for
considering of the distribution of ceramics on the island of Cyprus.
Since 2003, my colleagues and I conducted a survey and excavation at
the site on the east side of Larnaka bay about 10 km east of the

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modern city of Larnaka which was the ancient city of Kition. Our
work documented a thriving coastal community of Late Roman date
stretching along a kilometer of the south Cyprus coastline. The site
benefited from a now infilled embayment that likely served as a
harbor in antiquity and had at least one well-appointed Early
Christian basilica as well as a built up semi-urban area. It is possible
that John Moschos referred to the site as an emporion (or market
town) named Tadai is his Spiritual Meadow. My work at this site was
done with my colleagues David Pettegrew and R. Scott Moore and it
produced a robust assemblage of both local and imported Late
Roman ceramics.
[SLIDE] The Late Roman assemblage from the site consisted of a
large number of transport amphora sherds (32%) most of which are
from Late Roman 1 amphoras which were either produced on the
island or on the Cilician coast of Asia Minor. This shear quantity of
these sherds from our site suggests that it may have functioned as a
transshipment point for local agricultural produce from the area and
the remains of an press weight, crusher stone, and settling basin for
an olive press indicates that some agricultural processing took place
at the site (even if these objects did not derive from the same
installation).
This presence of fine ware provides a more useful source for

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understanding the sites broader engagement with the broader


Mediterranean world. Of the three most common wares, CRS
constitutes 70%, PHW 19%, and ARS 11%. The majority of this
material is contemporary with the types present in the Polis
assemblage with a slightly larger quantity of earlier sherds (particularly
CRS 1 and 2). [SLIDE] Like at Polis, the most common form of CRS
is the long-lived Form 9. There is very little CRS 7 and 8 and CRS 11
accounts for only 14% of the assemblage at PKAP rather than 35%
at Polis. In other words, the assemblage at the coastal site of PylaKoutsopetria is rather different from the assemblage at Polis.
Conclusions
Anyone who hopes that my analysis today will now come together
is a brilliant and tidy description of Late Roman culture at Polis or on
Cyprus will be disappointed. What Ive presented today is just the
first steps in unpacking the complex interplay of production,
distribution, markets, and taste. There is much more work to be
done. For example, the distribution of transport vessels and cooking
and utility wares could easily add significant nuance to how we
understand the economic relationship between points on the island.
[SLIDE46/47] Looking closely at the decoration of the basilicas on
island and in the larger region could reveal more about the circulation
of work crews, artists, pattern books, and skills. Church architecture

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and ceramic fine ware is only scratching the surface, but it does
represent two opportunities for display at the public and private level
respectively.
[SLIDE48] This differences between the contemporary
assemblages at Pyla-Koutsopetria and Polis reflect the complexity of
local economic realities and taste. Separated by less 100 miles as the
crow flies and 150 miles by sea, the sites are basically similar. Both
have basilica style churches, robust assemblages of fine table wares
and transport vessels, and developed urban infrastructures. The
artifact assemblages, as we have seen, differ significantly.
The differences fit into a general pattern. CRS appeared
predominantly in coastal communities and particularly in the
southwestern corner of the island. The abundance of CRS along the
coast indicated that is was plentiful and affordable to these
communities at least in comparison to its imported rival fine wares
produced in either North Africa (ARS) or Asia Minor (LCR). Here
Im making the safe assumption that if inland communities had
access to LRC and ARS so did the coastal communities through
which this imported pottery moved. When CRS, ARS, and LRC
reached inland communities, however, something changed. Perhaps it
was the cost of transporting CRS the short trip from the coast to the
sites 10-15 km inland increased its price enough to make its

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competitors more appealing. What seems more plausible to assert is


that inland communities seemed to prefer PHW and ARS at least as
frequently as CRS making the tables of residents in inland
communities would have looked rather different from those of
communities along the coast.
Similar networks of local preferences may provide a context for
the design and construction techniques manifest in the basilica at
Polis. Drawing on the the basic dimensions of the churches at Peyia,
and later inspired by the elaborate acropolis basilica at Amathus and
perhaps vaulted basilicas on the Karpas peninsula, the church at Polis
appears to draw on a different network of relationships than
produced the ceramic assemblages.
[SLIDE49] In 2000, Horden and Purcell published a book called
The Corrupting Sea that argued that the ancient Mediterranean sea
consisted of a series of semi-autonomous microregions. These
microregions engaged their neighbors in trade, developed strategies
to maximize local environmental resources and mitigate challenges,
and, form the locus for the development of ancient culture, if our
very preliminary readings of the material from Cyprus are any
indication. The fine ware assemblages, for example, demonstrates
significant variation in local preference despite similar access to a web
of economic relationships that crisscross the Mediterranean sea.

DO NOT CITE WITHOUT AUTHORS PERMISSION 2014

The value of observing these connections across the island of Cyprus


is not so much to argue that ceramics or church architecture hold any
distinct significance, but to set the stage for a larger consideration of
how the relationships between these microregions reflect practice at
the level of individual communities. If we accept that microregions
form the basic unit for social practices in the ancient Mediterranean
(and the jury is still out on this, but the evidence from Cyprus does
show remarkable variation), then the decision making present at these
relatively small, local communities is the activity that produces what
archaeologists understand as culture in the ancient world.

Architecture)and)Assemblage)at)the)
site)of)Polis5Chrysochous)on)Cyprus)
William)R.)Caraher,)University)of)North)Dakota)

Paphos)image)

R.)Maguire,)Late)An0que)Basilicas)on)Cyprus:)
sources,)contexts,)history.)
)(Unpub.)Ph.d.)Diss.)East)Anglia)2012))
Fig.)1.1))

)C.)A.)Stewart,)The)First)Vaulted)Churches)in)Cyprus))
Journal)of)the)Society)of)Architectural)Historians)69)(2010))
Fig.)1)

)C.)A.)Stewart,)The)First)
Vaulted)Churches)in)Cyprus))
Journal)of)the)Society)of)
Architectural)Historians)69)
(2010))Fig.)1)

R.)Maguire,)Late)An0que)
Basilicas)on)Cyprus:)
sources,)contexts,)history.)
)(Unpub.)Ph.d.)Diss.)East)
Anglia)2012))
Fig.)6.1,)6.2)

)C.)A.)Stewart,)The)First)
Vaulted)Churches)in)Cyprus))
Journal)of)the)Society)of)
Architectural)Historians)69)
(2010))
Fig.)6)and)7)

From)Anemurium)

CRS)Kilns)(Gebiz))

Anemurium)

Polis)
CPSP)

PKAP)
Kalavasos5Kopetra)
Maroni5Petrera)

Cypriot)Red)Slip)from)Polis)

Cypriot)Red)Slip)from)Polis)