Colloquium: Sacred Space and Ritual Practice in Rural Cyprus: Investigations of the Athienou Archaeological Project

Sacred Space and Ritual Practice in Rural Cyprus: 
Investigations of the Athienou Archaeological Project

Derek B. Counts
Associate Professor of Classical art and archaeology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Associate Director, Athienou Archaeological Project

Erin W. Averett
Assistant Professor of Archaeology
Creighton University
Assistant Director, Athienou Archaeological Project

Friday March 14
Marksbury Theater


The Athienou Archaeological Project (AAP) has been studying long-term
cultural change at the site of Athienou-Malloura since 1990. The
project area is located near modern Athienou (ancient Golgoi) in
central-eastern Cyprus along the margins of the fertile Mesaoria
plain. Since its inception, AAP has focused on diachronic patterns of
rural land use within the Malloura. Employing careful field methods of
excavation and recording, AAP has sought to reconstruct ancient life
in this under-studied region by charting local responses to wider
networks of exchange at multiple scales from regional to
Mediterranean-wide. Research questions that have guided our project
consider broadly the impact of long-term cultural and environmental
changes on rural settlement and land-use patterns. Malloura was
occupied for nearly 3000 years beginning in the early first millennium
B.C.E.; our investigations have unearthed domestic, religious, and
funerary contexts, with an impressive assemblage of material remains.
In particular, the Malloura sanctuary has revealed an extensive
history of use from the eighth century B.C.E. to the fourth century
C.E. The artifact assemblage includes ceramic vessels, coins, animal
bones, and other cult objects. Most importantly, we have recovered
close to 4000 fragments of limestone and terracotta sculpture, which
were dedicated between ca. 600-100 B.C.E. The sculptures depict human
and animal figures ranging in size from several centimeters to
life-size. This assemblage will be the focus of an innovative new
research project, which we hope will be undertaken in collaboration
with the University of Kentucky's Center for Visualization, that
utilizes multidimensional imaging technologies to produce
high-resolution 3D images of fragments from this impressive corpus.

Host: Brent Seales