May 2022 - Catch up on the latest news from CAARI!

We stand at the brink of our third pandemic summer. The threat truly seems to be ebbing. CAARI is so lively with people now that it feels as though we’re regaining the old, familiar summer immersion in hectic effort, heat, and camaraderie. Prudence remains imperative: we’ve decided sadly that it’s unwise to hold the Summer Archaeological Workshop again this year. But the hostel is fully booked, and research is proceeding on so many fronts. A new group of CAARI fellows has begun to arrive. This news-flash introduces you to them. We welcome them from many countries, in a wide range of fields, bringing fresh ideas and stimulating questions. As you can see below, Dorota Zaprzalska has already been able to examine and photograph the artifacts she is studying. 

Following the fellows’ projects, CAARI Trustee Dr. Walter Crist offers us a brisk and enlightening journey through the archaeology of Cypriots’ millennia-long fascination with board games. He makes clear both the richness of the surviving evidence and the centrality to its study of scholars associated with CAARI. We have a corner on gaming in Cyprus!

In conclusion, we’ll update you on the effort to fund the repaving of the garden. The promised tribute to former CAARI librarian Diana Constantinides will come in the July news-flash, with a current update on the library that she loved.
Message from CAARI’s Director
Dear friends and supporters of CAARI,
Lee Satterfield and Joan Breton Connelly emerging from rock-cut tomb dating from the 1st cent BCE - 2nd cent CE, NYU Yeronisos - Meletis Excavations, Agios Georgios tis Pegeias, Cyprus
The CAARI residence is operating at pre-pandemic levels and we’ve certainly been keeping busy this spring. Covid numbers continue to drop and we are living our outside lives in the glorious sunshine. Two tour groups have visited CAARI, both with lucky archaeology students enjoying a week of the sites of Cyprus. One was from the University of Haifa and the other from the University of Vienna. We’ve
had visitors from the US as well. In April, Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, arrived for the opening of the Paphos campus of the American University of Beirut. It was a very short trip to Cyprus but she managed to schedule a quick tour of a Hellenistic tomb under excavation at Meletis by Prof. Joan Breton Connelly (shown in photo) and also a quick visit to Agios Georgios tis Pegeias, to view some of the finds under study from Geronisos Island.
The academic schedule has also been busy. We’re gearing up for a hybrid workshop at the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus on ‘Ceramic Bichromy in the eastern Mediterranean during the 2nd and 1st millennia’ on the 20th May, where I’ll be discussing the wonderful Late Cypriot Bichrome Wheelmade ware. On the 6th June I’ll be giving a lecture in Athens at the House of Cyprus on more Bronze Age pottery. Keep an eye on our social media for the links to watch these events if you’re a fellow pottery fan! What we’re really excited about is the imminent arrival of many of our dig teams that haven’t been out here for two years. I’ll also be excavating this July at Kissonerga-Skalia and I really can’t wait.
Sadly, a key figure for all of Nicosia and someone who was instrumental in the founding of CAARI passed away recently. Lellos Demetriades was the much-loved Mayor of Nicosia from 1971–2001 and also CAARI’s lawyer, as well as a friend to many CAARI Directors and trustees. His son, Achilleas Demetriades, is also a CAARI trustee and continues to assist us with legal matters for which we are extremely grateful. We extend our deepest condolences to the family.
Our final online lecture of the spring is coming up on the 26th May. CAARI-CAORC fellow Dr Ian Randall will give us a lecture entitled Crisis and Recovery at Byzantine Kourion. You can find the link for registration here:
Wishing you all a relaxing and productive summer,
Lindy Crewe, PhD
Director, CAARI

Congratulations to CAARI’s New Fellows
Edgar J. Peltenburg Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cypriot Prehistory

Established three years ago, this fellowship is unique to CAARI. Each year it supports the work of an outstanding young scholar in the field that Professor Peltenburg developed so significantly.

Dr. Giulia Muti
Peltenburg Fellow

The Fabric’s Edge. Investigating Textile Production and Its Socio-Economic Role in the Middle and Late Cypriot Transition
The ‘Fabric’s Edge’ project aims to investigate the manufacture and social uses of textiles in the period encompassing the transition between the Middle and Late Bronze Age (c. 1750–1450 BCE) in Cyprus. This period has attracted the attention of many scholars as a phase of social, economic, and ideological transformations preceding the appearance of the first urban centers on the island. Even though explored from different angles, textiles have never been used as an investigative lens to approach this complex transition. The research I will undertake as the E.J. Peltenburg fellow intends to fill this gap in research. Specifically, it attempts to delineate changes in textile production and technologies, tools, productive choices and types of products consumed. Inspired by current textile research,1 I will also explore the possible role of textiles in the process of urbanization, and, vice versa, the possibility that textile production was affected by the intensification of external contacts, instability and tensions, and a certain degree of ‘experimentation’ in the inter-personal domain and social dynamics that characterize this period.
1 See especially M. Gleba, B. Marín-Aguilera, and B. Dimova Making Cities: Economies of Production and Urbanization in Mediterranean Europe, 1000–500 BC. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

CAARI/CAORC Postdoctoral Fellows

Annual funds from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers enable CAARI to offer two postdoctoral grants to American scholars to pursue research that will bring Cyprus into both their classroom teaching and their publications.

Dr. des. Catherine Keane
CAARI/CAORC Postdoctoral Fellow
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Resilience and Recovery: The Eastern Mediterranean in the 6th-9th Centuries
This project focuses on the varying reactions of Early Byzantine societies to political upheavals, invasions, climate, natural disasters, and disease. Communities displayed resilience to crises in many individual ways, demonstrating resourceful negotiations that manifested in economic installations, urban space transformations, and architectural and artistic blends. This project will synthesise post-crisis reorganization and autonomous actions of coastal communities in Early Byzantine Cyprus, Cilicia, and the Levant. The continued flow of people and goods across geographical bound­aries demonstrates local choices in the modifications of religious, civic, and productive spaces.

The pertinence of this research on 6th-9th century stressors and adaptations will provide important perspectives to apply to our current obstacles and identities, and transform our understanding of resilience.

As this is part of a larger project across the coastal eastern Mediterranean, my work as a CAARI/CAORC research fellow will concentrate on its initial phase, during which the focus will be on the upheavals themselves and the island of Cyprus itself.
Dr. Dylan Rogers
CAARI/CAORC Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Virginia

Roman Cyprus Reconsidered: Fountains and Urbanism
This project investigates urbanism on the island of Cyprus in the Roman period. Often left out of historical narratives or architectural treatises on the Roman Empire, Roman Cyprus has much to offer the modern scholar, thinking through complex issues related to identity and patronage, along with design and construction techniques. While this project will lay the foundations for a monograph on the cities of Roman Greece (widely construed), particular attention will be paid to the role of water infrastructure and fountains for the duration of the fellowship, which is part of my current book project, Water, Architecture, & the Senses: Fountains of the Roman Empire. Grounded in the theoretical frameworks of sensory archaeology, new materialisms, and the hydrosocial cycle, this project repopulates the ancient Mediterranean, particularly to consider how flowing water changed urban and rural landscapes in Roman Cyprus (including at the sites of Paphos, Kourion, Salamis, Amathus, and Soli).
CAARI Predoctoral Research 

CAARI offers the only research grants for graduate students that are specifically earmarked for Cyprus. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of these grants in attracting gifted young scholars who work on Cyprus, and in enabling the research that they do. 

Jessica Plant
The Helena Wylde Swiny and Stuart Swiny Fellowship
Cornell University

Stucco as Transformational Medium in the First Millennium Mediterranean
Stucco is surface, structure, and sculpture. It protects and enhances buildings as decorative plaster made of lime or gypsum. Both superficial and integral to complex design systems, stucco collapses traditional tripartite categories (painting, architecture, sculpture) of studying ancient art. My dissertation project is a comparative investigation of stucco, which recontextualizes the medium within decorative assemblages, tracing its ancient production and transformation in the Late Antique Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus plays a crucial role in this study. It boasts a rich regional craft tradition, which was actively reimagined through nascent Christian basilicas. Study of excavated stucco from the sites of Kalavasos-Kopetra and Protaras-Panagia, for example, will document, contextualize, and analyze the emergence of this form of relief art in the early Byzantine period (4-7th c. CE). Site visits and primary examination of the excavated stuccoes situates them as vital components within design assemblages and socio-economic changes in Late Antiquity.

Sarah Wink
The Danielle Parks Memorial Fellowship
University of Glasgow

Moving with the Times: Ritual Movement and Social Change in Cyprus
My research looks at ritual movement and how it relates to social change in Cyprus between the Hellenistic and early Byzantine periods using Kourion, Paphos, Amathus, and Salamis as case studies. This involves tracing patterns of ritual movement both in regard to movement to the place of worship and within it. Once movement patterns have been established the changes over time can be tracked and the reason for these changes can be extrapolated. This can be anything from seismic activity to the machinations of the political elite. Thus, movement amplifies our understanding of the complex and dynamic changes occurring within the realm of religion during these periods. My thesis also analyzes examples of ongoing ritual (movement) practices with roots running back to the ancient period in order to develop an understanding of how these patterns are reinterpreted and change across larger expanses of time.  

Dorota Zaprzalska
The Anita Cecil O’Donovan Fellowship
Jagiellonian University, Cracow

Composite Icons of Cyprus
My project focuses on a category of paintings called composite icons (σύνθετες εικόνες) in which one icon is a part of a larger picture and is an earlier icon inserted into another one. Icons of this unusual form, consisting of two panels from different times, are quite numerous on Cyprus and date mostly from the 16th century. The purpose of the project is to catalogue and photograph all of them and its planned duration is three months (April-June 2022). It focuses on a close in situ examination and thus a stylistic and iconographic analysis as well as identifying and recording any possible evidence of adapting composite icons to new contexts or changes in their functions. It aims to provide a better understanding of their artistic form and various roles – equally the present-day as some of them are still venerated and the composite form clearly influences their current devotional use. You see one of the composite icons in the photograph just below.
 Scholar in Residence for 2021-2022

Each year, CAARI welcomes an established scholar to reside for a period at the Institute as a mentor and model. Interchange across disciplines and age groups is an invaluable part of the CAARI experience.
Dr. Bleda During
Scholar in Residence
Leiden University

Connecting Cyprus: Globalisation in Western Asia in the Third Millennium  BCE Revisited
Around 2600 BCE a remarkable globalization event occurred in Western Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean. The rise of long distance trade networks is accompanied by developments in craft technologies and an increase in urbanism, and social complexity. Uniquely, Cyprus does not appear to be partaking much in these developments until the (relatively late) Philia period, the nature of which has been much debated.
Investigations of the manner in which Cyprus became connected at this time have focussed mainly on the data from Cyprus, consisting of various imports and objects indicative of contacts with the mainland. The other side of the equation, what data from Anatolia and the Levant might tell us about this development is less well known. Working in the CAARI library with its great collections on Cypriot and Anatolian archaeology, I hope to rebalance the equation in order to better understand what happened at this time.
The Culture of Gaming in Ancient Cyprus

Dr. Walter Crist
Postdoctoral Researcher, Maastricht University
Anyone who has been to Cyprus knows that tavli is still a very popular board game on the island. The traditional game that is similar to Backgammon is played in kafeneia and other public spaces, where people play or watch games which can be ponderous, animated, or even contentious! What you may not know, however, is that gaming has been a big part of life on Cyprus millennia before tavli came into existence.

Back in the 1970s, excavations at the Middle to Late Bronze Age (c. 1750–1450 BCE) site of Episkopi Phaneromeni began uncovering limestone slabs that had a series of shallow depressions patterns on them. Stuart Swiny, before he was Director of CAARI, was working as the field director at Episkopi Phaneromeni and took particular interest in these objects. He noticed that these patterns were remarkably uniform in their layout. They either appeared in three rows of ten depressions, or in a spiral pattern with a variable number of depressions.
Mehen (S13 from Marki Alonia) and senet (S21 from Anoyira Livadhia) games from Bronze Age Cyprus
Once it was obvious that these were overwhelmingly the two patterns represented, Swiny identified these objects as local versions of the Egyptian games senet—which is a game with three rows of ten squares—and mehen—a game in the form of a coiled snake without a set number of spaces. Importantly, these patterns were sometimes found on opposite sides of the same object, cementing the idea that there must be a connection between the two. Soon after, similar artifacts were discovered at virtually every Bronze Age site on the island. This trend continues in Bronze Age excavations today, with over four hundred examples known from Cyprus. That’s more than have been found within Egypt itself!
Painting from the Tomb of Hesy-Re depicting the Egyptian games mehen (left), senet (top right) and men (bottom right). Photo: Quibbell, J. 1913. Excavations at Saqqara 1911-1912: The Tomb of Hesy, Cairo, IFAO, Pl. XI.
Since then, the growing corpus of games has allowed us to understand more about gaming cultures on Cyprus. It seems that mehen came to the island first, during the Late Chalcolithic (c.2700–2400 BCE), as shown by a board found at Lemba. At Marki Alonia, senet doesn’t show up until the Early Cypriot III levels (c. 2250 BCE), around the same time that we see the game in great numbers at Sotira Kaminoudhia. If the inhabitants of the island were playing games before these arrived on the island, they didn’t leave any material traces. Likewise, we don’t know much about the pieces or dice that were used with these boards—people probably used seeds, pebbles, or even dried goat droppings as pieces, but these aren’t identifiable as game pieces by an archaeologist! In Egypt, a set of four sticks with two distinguishable sides function as dice, but artifacts such as these wouldn’t preserve in Cyprus.
But how did these games come to the island? There’s little, if any, evidence for direct contact between Cyprus and Egypt during the third millennium BCE. We can, however, see that people living in the Levant played Egyptian games on similar-looking limestone slabs with depressions, or sometimes with incised squares. They’ve been found as far north as Tell Brak in Mesopotamia, and their presence at the coastal site of Byblos places the games well within the reach of the island. It is likely that Cypriots learned these games from Levantine people playing them, and copied the Levantine style of board.

Once the games reached the island, they were fully adopted into the local culture. Games have been found in people’s homes, in public spaces such as the Unit 12 Complex at Sotira Kaminoudhia, which was likely a public ritual space, as well as in a few tombs and in smaller public spaces. Games bring people together, and help them to build relationships. This is why games travel easily through long distance trade, and why they play in public places. People can learn to play a game with an opponent with little verbal communication, and the non-verbal cues that occur during gameplay—things such as fair play, good sportsmanship, demonstrations of skill and cunning—help people to make inferences about the trustworthiness of others and to build relationships. This is why, cross-culturally and throughout human history, games spread quickly to new cultures and people often play in public.

Senet and mehen truly became a part of Bronze Age Cypriot culture, disconnected from the Egyptian and perhaps even the Levantine versions of the games. There is less evidence for the strong religious connotation that these games had in Egypt, where the passage through the senet board was a reflection of the journey to the Afterlife, and mehen was a representation of the eponymous serpent god. Certainly, the games appear in some contexts which could be ritual, but the strong symbolism is missing, and any kind of religious meaning was certainly different from what existed in Egypt. Indeed, the disconnect between Cypriot and Egyptian gaming cultures can be seen in the persistence of mehen on the island. In Egypt, mehen became unpopular and disappears from the archaeological record by the end of the third millennium BCE. Nevertheless, Cypriots continued playing the game for another thousand years.
The Late Bronze Age brought many changes to Cypriot society, seen in the rise of urban centers and their inhabitants’ increasingly frequent contacts with surrounding cultures. The new social realities of this period brought about new changes in the gaming culture of the people on the island. At this time, a new game appeared on the island: the game of Twenty Squares, so-called because the ancient name of it has been lost. The origins of this game lie in Sumer, where its old form, known as the Royal Game of Ur, may have originated. By the Late Bronze Age, the shape of the board slightly changed to the elongated one seen below, and it became the most frequently played game throughout the region. It was popular among the Egyptian pharaohs, and in cities in Mesopotamia, the Levant and Anatolia, and, indeed, in Cyprus. The famous ivory Enkomi game box, now in the British Museum, is an example of this game. Porphyrios Dikaios found two other fragmentary ivory examples of this game at Enkomi. For the first time, Cypriots were playing games on game boards made out of luxury materials. 
Playing surface of the Enkomi game box. British Museum 1897,0401.996, © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Other examples of Twenty Squares have been found at Morphou Toumba tou Skourou, Hala Sultan Tekke, and Paphos. In addition, examples of a game popular on Crete that takes the form of a circle of ten or twelve holes, was found at Episkopi Bamboula and Maroni Tsaroukkas. The concentration of these foreign games in the coastal centers during this period shows that the people living there were using these games to interact with visitors from outside the island, and in doing so communicated their cosmopolitan identity through the practice of these exotic games, especially when they were made of expensive materials.

Nevertheless, senet and mehen were still played on the island. They remained popular at smaller sites, such as Episkopi Phaneromeni and Aredhiou Vouppes, and even have been found in some larger sites, but not approaching the numbers found at earlier ones. We also start to see variations on the typical patterns: four rows of ten in the Maroni area and a line dividing the senet pattern in half at sites near Episkopi. The gaming landscape had changed, and perhaps the play of the more traditional Cypriot versions of these games held social connotations that the inhabitants of the urban centers wanted to avoid, since we haven’t found many of them at these large sites.

With the end of the Bronze Age around 1050 BCE, the gaming landscape changed yet again, and the evidence for gameplay becomes sparse on the island. Senet or mehen games cannot be attested in primary contexts during the Iron Age, so it appears that they disappeared. Instead, there is evidence for the Greek game pente grammai, or five lines, which was found on two objects from Tamassos and Dhekelia, as well as graffiti at Kourion and Paphos. An example from Kourion is seen below. This game continued to be played through the Byzantine Period, as seen on graffiti at Salamis. The Roman game duodecim scripta can be seen in one of the mosaics in the House of Eustolios at Kourion. But aside from this, the archaeological evidence for gaming on Cyprus after the Bronze Age takes the form of stray finds of gaming pieces and dice up until the present day. 
Pente grammai graffiti in the Kourion Basilica. Photo courtesy Stuart Swiny.
Coming back to tavli: we don’t know exactly when it came to the island, but an epigram of Agathias, written in the early sixth century CE, describes a tavli game played by the Byzantine Emperor Zeno. The text discusses a particular positioning of the pieces on the board and the problem it presents. It is clear from this that the game in its most basic form resembled the same game played today. The ultimate origins of the game lie in Persia, probably not too long before Zeno was playing it in Constantinople, so it seems likely that it also reached Cyprus at this early date, becoming the next gaming craze on the island. Will it last as long as senet and mehen did? We’ll know in a couple hundred years!
Be a Player for CAARI!
The game board is set, and we are all players. Help us move ahead toward a triumphant win together. There are many ways in which you can join in the play

Help us repave CAARI’s much-used garden

We love this space. But, as seen in the last news-flash, drainage problems are demanding a fundamental excavation and restructuring of the garden space. Please help us defray this unexpected, many-thousand-Euro expense. We deeply appreciate every contribution, but all who give $200 or more can have their names inscribed in the new wall, and thus be inscribed in CAARI’s archaeological legacy!
Support CAARI’s fellowships

Sustaining high-quality research on Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean is fundamental to CAARI’s mission. Help us keep our fellowship stipends abreast of relentless inflation We are immensely grateful to all who give to our fellowship fund, right now, or in November with Giving Tuesday.
Never discount a small donation! 

If everyone who has used CAARI’s library, loaded sweaty clothes into CAARI’s washer, sat in conversation at CAARI’s table, or sunk to sleep in one of CAARI’s beds would give $35 each year to CAARI, we could do many new things!
You can donate online, or by mail:

11 Andrea Dimitriou Street
Nicosia 1066
209 Commerce Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

To ALL who play a role in the ongoing challenge of giving CAARI a firm foundation: our sincerest thanks! To all who help CAARI sustain its potent mission: thank you