The site

Pyla-Kokkinokremos is the name of a 50 to 63 m high rocky plateau, about 800 m from the present southeast coastline of Cyprus, located in the British sovereign base of Dhekeleia. It is located some 10 km east of Kition and some 20 km southwest of Enkomi, two major Bronze Age centres of the 13th-12th c. BC, the period known as Late Cypriot IIC and IIIA.

The site was explored at three previous occasions: first by Dr. P. Dikaios in 1952 (Dikaios 1971) (Areas I & II), then by Dr. V. Karageorghis in 1981-1982 (Karageorghis and Demas 1984) (Area II) and, more recently, in 2010-2013, by Dr. V. Karageorghis and Dr. A. Kanta (Karageorghis & Kanta 2014) (Areas II and III). Its proximate region also formed the focus of an intensive and systematic surface survey and geomorphological project by an American team under the direction of William Caraher, Scott Moore, Jay Noller, and David Pettegrew since 2003, focusing on the Roman and Late Antique occupation (see also During this work, some minor explorations also took place on the plateau (Brown 2013).

Based on these different explorations, it can be assumed that the entire plateau of ca. 7 ha was densely occupied. Most telling is the excavation of part of a regularly laid-out settlement in Area II of which the outer perimeter wall forms a defensive circuit wall which is assumed to have circled the entire hill top plateau. The repetition of residential units within the excavated zone seems to suggest that the establishment of the settlement was a deliberate and planned enterprise. Moreover, although some traces of fire were observed, the discovery of material culture including several hidden hoards of precious metals seems to suggest the planned and organised abandonment of the settlement. This and the international character of its finds make it an exceptional site. Moreover, during the recent explorations in the west sector (Area III), a possible gate was cleared close to which were found two tablets inscribed in Cypro-Minoan.

Because of its limited chronological occupation, its location and its specific material culture, Pyla-Kokkinokremos has attracted a fair deal of scholarly attention (e.g. Kanta 2003; Karageorghis & Morris 2001; Karageorghis 2011; Iakovou 2013; Georgiou 2012; Brown 2013) and it plays a major role in the discussion on potential Aegean migrations to Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean. Fact is that the brevity of occupation, its defensible location and many of its finds such as an imported Minoan pictorial amphoroid krater with a magnificent bull caught in a net, an imported Mycenaean amphoroid krater with chariots and people chased by birds with painted signs of Cypro-Minoan script after firing, an imported Sardinian cooking pot with lead repairs, many Canaanite jars and local Cypriot pottery suggest an ethnic mix that still needs proper explanation. An imported deep bowl from the Argolid which is dated to early LHIIIC is the thus far latest import on the site from the Greek mainland which has provided a date around 1190 BC or slightly later for the abandonment of Pyla, at the close of Late Cypriot IIC or early in LC III.