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Coordinates: 344748.21N 332037.

39E

Khirokitia
Khirokitia (sometimes spelled Choirokoitia; Greek:
Khirokitia
[iociti.a], Turkish: Hirokitya) is an archaeological site on the island of
Cyprus dating from the Neolithic age. It has been listed as a World , Hirokitya
Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1998. The site is known as one of the
most important and best preserved prehistoric sites of the eastern
Mediterranean. Much of its importance lies in the evidence of an
organised functional society in the form of a collective settlement, with
surrounding fortifications for communal protection. The Neolithic
aceramic period is represented by this settlement and around 20 other
similar settlements spread throughout the island.[1]

Contents View of Khirokitia


1 Discovery
2 Archaeology
3 Village Name
4 Gallery
5 See also
6 References
7 Sources
8 External links
Location within Cyprus
Alternate name Choirokoitia

Discovery Location Cyprus, Europe


Coordinates 344748.21N
The site was discovered in 1934 by Porphyrios Dikaios, director of the
332037.39E
Cyprus Department of Antiquities who carried out six excavations
between 1934 and 1946.[2] His initial findings were published in The Site notes
Journal of Hellenic Studies in 1934.[3] Further excavations were then UNESCO World Heritage Site
held in the early 70's but were interrupted by the Turkish invasion of the
Criteria Cultural: (ii), (iii), (iv)
island. A French mission under the direction of Alain Le Brun resumed
excavation of the site in 1977.[4] It was occupied from the 7th until the Reference 848
4th millennium BC.[5][6] Inscription 1998 (22nd Session)
[edit on Wikidata]
Archaeology
The settlement of Khirokitia is situated on the slope of a hill in the valley of the Maroni River towards the southern coast of the island
about 6 km from the sea.Subsistence methods practiced by its Neolithic inhabitants included farming crops, herding sheep and goats,
and raising pigs. It is a closed village, cut off from the outside world, apart from by the river, by a strong wall of stones 2.5 m thick
and 3 m at its highest preserved level. Access into the village was probably via several entry points through the wall. The buildings
within this wall consist of round structures huddled close together. The lower parts of these buildings are often of stone and attain
massive proportions by constant additions of further skins of stones. Their external diameter varies between 2.3 m and 9.20 m while
the internal diameter is only between 1.4 m and 4.80 m. A collapsed flat roof of one building found recently indicates that not all
[7]
roofs were dome shaped as was originally believed.

The internal divisions of each hut were according to the purpose of its usage. Low walls, platforms designated work, rest or storage
areas. They had hearths presumably used for cooking and heating, benches and windows and in many cases there is evidence of piers
to support an upper floor. It is believed that the huts were like rooms several of which were grouped around an open courtyard and
together formed the home. The population of the village at any one time is thought not to have exceeded 300 to 600 inhabitants. The
people were rather short the men about 5' 3" on average and the women about 4' 11". Infant mortality was very high. On average
adult men reached 35 years of age and women 33. The dead were buried in crouched positions just under the floors of the houses. In
some instances provision was made for offerings, possibly indicating a form of Ancestor cult within the households. This, the earliest
known culture in Cyprus, consisted of a well-organised, developed society mainly engaged in farming, hunting and herding. Farming
was mainly of cereal crops. They also picked the fruit of trees growing wild in the surrounding area such as pistachio nuts, figs,
, sheep, goats and pigs.[8]
olives and prunes. The four main species of animals whose remains were found on the site were deer

[9] remained
The village of Choirokoitia was suddenly abandoned for reasons unknown at around 6000 BC and it seems that the island
uninhabited for about 1500 years until the next recorded entity, the Sotira group. More recent discoveries, however, including several
sites in the vicinity of the ancient acropolis of Amathus on the eastern edge of modern Limassol, have filled this chronological gap
considerably, revealing that the island was probably occupied continuously at least from the ninth millennium BC. Early communities
[10][11]
were small and widely dispersed, so not every region would have been as heavily exploited as later in prehistory

Village Name
According to the dominating opinion the name of the village is a composite of the word "Khiros" (hog / pig) and the word "Kiti", thus
suggesting an area where pigs were raised. Other sources claim that the original name was "Sidirokitida", thus an area were iron was
found. It is also said that it might have originated from the word "Khirogetia", which implies the practice of palmistry. According yet
to another opinion, it may have originated from some initial name like "Ierokitida" (Sacred place). Yet more imaginative opinions
claim that the name came from the words "gyros" and "oikia" due to the fact that the prehistoric huts are round. Furthermore,
tradition has it that the name is derived from the phrase "Chere Kitia" a phrased used by the Queen "Rigena" to address a certain
female friend of hers from Kition. It was also claimed that maybe the name originated from the plant Annona cherimola, which is
found cultivated in Cyprus under the more simple name "Cheromolia", although this is considered very unlikely. At any rate, in old
[12]
maps the village is marked as either Cherochetica or as Chierochitia.

Gallery
Reconstructed structures

Reconstructed structures Reconstructed structures Reconstructed structures Reconstructed structures

Reconstructed structures

See also
New Stone Age

References
1. "HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE"(http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab27).
www.historyworld.net. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
2. Hirshfeld, Nicolle. "Biography of Joan Du Plat Taylor" (http://www.brown.edu/Research/Breaking_Ground/results.ph
p?d=1&first=Joan&last=Du%20Plat%20T aylor). Brown University. Retrieved 21 July 2007.
3. Payne, H. G. G. (1934). "Archaeology in Greece, 193334".The Journal of Hellenic Studies. The Society for the
Promotion of Hellenic Studies.54 (2): 199. doi:10.2307/626861 (https://doi.org/10.2307%2F626861). JSTOR 626861
(https://www.jstor.org/stable/626861).
4. Le Brun, Alain (March 2001)."Le Nolithique de Chypre"(http://www.clio.fr/BIBLIOTHEQUE/le_neolithique_de_chyp
re.asp) (in French). Clio. Retrieved 21 July 2007.
5. "The French Archeological Mission, Khirokitia"(http://www.ifchypre.org/index.php/en/cooperation/archeologique/5-mi
ssion-archeologique-francaise-de-khirokitia). www.ifchypre.org. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
6. T., Watkins. "Le Brun A. (d.). - 1989. Fouilles rcentes Khirokitia (Chypre) 1983-1986"
(http://www.persee.fr/doc/p
aleo_0153-9345_1990_num_16_2_5101). Palorient. 16 (2). Retrieved 23 June 2017.
7. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Choirokoitia" (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/848). whc.unesco.org. Retrieved
23 June 2017.
8. Lapithis, Petros. "HISTORY OF SOLAR ARCHITECTURE IN CYPRUS"(http://www.academia.edu/393912/HISTOR
Y_OF_SOLAR_ARCHITECTURE_IN_CYPRUS) . Retrieved 23 June 2017.
9. Template:UNESCO World Heritage Centre entry http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/848
10. "British Museum - Early prehistory"(https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/publications/online_research_catalogu
es/ancient_cyprus_british_museum/kourion/history ,_culture,_burial/early_prehistory.aspx#Footnote8).
www.britishmuseum.org. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
11. Simmons 1999; Simmons 2001 (both with previous references); Peltenburg et al. 2001; Steel 2004, 1932.
12. "Khirokitia - Neolithic Settlement Khirokitias"(http://www.khirokitia.org/en/neolithic-len). www.khirokitia.org. Retrieved
23 June 2017.

Sources
Department of Antiquities, Government of Cyprus

External links
UNESCO World Heritage Centre entry
Khirokitia by Cypriot Government

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