December, 2021 - Catch up on the latest news from CAARI!
Greetings!
Warm holiday wishes to friends around the world. Be they Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Oshogatsu, Protochronia with the Vasilopita, may your festivities be bright. We are shadowed still by the pandemic, but CAARI pulsates with resurgent energy. This news-flash brings three aspects of its recent activity.

First, we share the legacy of Bryan Wilkins’ presidency: the posthumous presentation of the American Society of Overseas Research’s (ASOR’s) prestigious W.F. Albright Award to him, and then the justly celebrative public recognition that surrounded the repatriation of the Cypriot artifacts that his father had brought home from his momentous term as the first U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus.

Second, you’ll get insights from CAARI Trustee and Distinguished Professor Alan Simmons and from Dr. Anna Reeve into the research programs they were able to pursue during the pandemic thanks to CAARI, and also into the frustrations and triumphs that accompanied their work.

Third, Dr. Zuzana Chovanec, Chair of CAARI’s Development Committee, will fill you in on CAARI’s new emphasis on Giving Tuesday. We are eager to make this an annual habit for all of us to benefit CAARI’s invaluable fellowship programs.

But first, here is the message from CAARI’s Director, Dr. Lindy Crewe, who will lay out some of the season’s achievements, and some of its ongoing concerns, especially the renewal of the MOU of the United States with the Republic of Cyprus.
 
Message from CAARI’s Director
 
Dear friends and supporters of CAARI,
Despite renewed concerns and increased vigilance around emerging COVID variants, we have continued our activities both online and in person at CAARI these past months. We’ve had a stream of guests in the residence and the library, particularly graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In addition to local Cypriot scholars, we are seeing increasing numbers of international students each fall who choose to pursue their further degrees at the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus and the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) of the Cyprus Institute. Many spend time at CAARI when they first arrive, in order to ease into life in Nicosia, and others remain with us for their entire stay. In either case, they become part of the international CAARI family, meeting new friends and colleagues, and we are happy to facilitate relationships in this way.

In addition to the lectures I reported on in the last Newsflash, we have some exciting new content on our YouTube channel. The lecture by Dr Nicoletta Demetriou, The Cypriot Fiddler: An oral history of traditional music-making in Cyprus in the twentieth century was a departure from our usual focus on the deep past but I highly recommend viewing her presentation to learn about the vanishing traditional musicians of Cyprus. Our current Edgar J. Peltenburg Fellow in Cypriot Prehistory, Dr. Harry Paraskeva, also gave us a fascinating lecture on his work re-investigating material held by the Department of Antiquities from Chalcolithic and Bronze Age sites surveyed and excavated in the early 20th century, now inaccessible in areas not controlled by the Republic of Cyprus.

You can find all the links for past and forthcoming lectures on our website at http://caari.org/programs/. Our focus in the spring will be on the research of the US scholars who were awarded fellowships during the pandemic but have yet to make it out here to undertake their research. I’m happy to report that all have now scheduled their research visits to Cyprus and will be giving us lectures, either entirely online or in hybrid form if possible. We’ll announce the speakers and dates in January. Archaeology students and faculty from all over the world have been in touch about making their plans for research and fieldwork in Cyprus in 2022. I’m optimistic that we will be able to hold what will be the 39th Annual
CAARI Summer Archaeological Workshop after the pandemic break of two years so have booked the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation for 18th June! Please join us if you can.           

We are waiting for the announcement of the January Zoom meeting to extend the Memorandum of Understanding between Cyprus and the USA concerning the imposition of import restrictions on antiquities from Cyprus into the USA. We will be in touch to solicit letters of support to be submitted to the US Government portal from those who have researched on the heritage of Cyprus, or have visited archaeological sites as tourists, or came to Cyprus as students, benefitting from time in the museums or in the field. I leave you with an image of our small but jolly Christmas tree in the residence!

Wishing all of our friends a safe, relaxing and happy holiday season,

Lindy Crewe, PhD
Director, CAARI
Bryan Wilkins Receives ASOR’s W.F. Albright Award
On 19 November at its Annual Meeting in Chicago, and again on 8 December in its Virtual Meeting, ASOR awarded its prestigious W.F. Albright Award to CAARI’s late President, F. Bryan Wilkins, in honor and gratitude for his dedicated leadership of CAARI over the years between 2015 and 2021. His wife, Katherine Grayson Wilkins, joined the virtual presentation with a written statement conveying the thanks of the Wilkins family. The screen shot below includes moderator Lynn Welton’s message thanking Katherine for being present.
Named for the American archaeologist and biblical scholar, William F. Albright, the award honors an individual who has shown exceptional support or made outstanding service contributions to one of the ASOR’s overseas centers, or to one of its overseas committees. This award is given only when such an individual is identified. Bryan so clearly fit the bill. As CAARI’s co-President, Professor Nancy Serwint, wrote in nominating him, “Tirelessly involved in improving CAARI's financial security, he had served as Treasurer of the CAARI Board from 2010 to 2015. From 2015 until 2021, the year of his unexpected death, Bryan was President of the Board of Trustees, and his tenure in that role saw his astute handling of the NEH Challenge Grant that resulted in the dedication of the CAARI library extension in 2016. Shepherding CAARI through the success of the expansion project solidified the institute's reputation as one of the most important scholarly research libraries in the Republic of Cyprus.” ASOR’s award letter closed with the words: “We are happy to know that Bryan’s dedication to CAARI will be recognized publicly, for his sudden passing prevented our conveying to him personally the thanks we owed him. All of us at CAARI share this sentiment.

Cyprus Welcomes Repatriation of 38 Antiquities
As the Albright Award was being organized, another aspect of Bryan Wilkins’ beneficence to CAARI was unfolding. Bryan had come to CAARI’s Board because of his deep love for Cyprus, developed as a teenager during his father’s tenure as the first U.S. Ambassador in Nicosia. His father, Fraser Wilkins, had returned from his various Middle Eastern assignments with a personal collection of ancient artifacts, which Bryan inherited along with his father’s extensive library. Among them were a number of Cypriot antiquities. Bryan had hoped that they would be returned to Cyprus when the time came.

His wife, Katherine Grayson Wilkins, arranged the objects’ repatriation to the Department of Antiquities. She was recognized in a ceremony at the Embassy of Cyprus in Washington, D.C., on 11 November, when Ambassador Marios Lysiotis received the artifacts and warmly thanked her for the voluntary offer to return them to their land of origin. Below, in a photograph furnished by the Embassy, you can see Katherine Wilkins with the Ambassador and many of the thirty-eight ceramic antiquities that she has returned to the Republic of Cyprus.
Ambassador Marios Lysiotis and Katherine Grayson Wilkins at the Embassy of Cyprus with antiquities from Bryan Wilkins’ collection. Photograph by Maria Averkiou.
Artifact repatriation is a subject of abiding importance to CAARI, and the Institute was quick to furnish assistance in identifying and attributing the items from photographs furnished by Katherine Wilkins. The collection included objects from several of the countries in which Bryan’s father had served, and a first task was sorting out their sites of origin. As the Cypriot objects emerged, CAARI Director Lindy Crewe provided expert advice, and Dr. Anna Georgiadou, an expert in Iron Age Cypriot pottery and regular CAARI visitor, gave very generously of her time and expertise. Both scholars emphasized the significance of repatriation, and the importance of contributing to its realization.

In its news dispatch, the Embassy of Cyprus gave special recognition to CAARI and to Dr. Crewe for her extensive help in the repatriation process. The Department of Antiquities, too, extended its warmest appreciation to Katherine Grayson Wilkins for her commendable decision to hand over the antiquities, and expressed “special thanks. . .to the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute-CAARI and especially its Director, Dr Lindy Crewe, for her vital role in the handing over of the objects and for her ongoing assistance on many levels.” The Department’s Director, Marina Solomidou-Ieronomydou, sent a gracious letter of thanks to both Katherine Wilkins and Lindy Crewe. CAARI is pleased to have received this recognition.

Tentative plans are being made so that Katherine herself and her and Bryan’s three children can come to Cyprus to greet the artifacts when they actually reach Cyprus next year. None of Bryan’s family members have been in Cyprus, and it would be a joy to welcome them here. On many fronts, the repatriation has been a happy process and a parting benefice from Bryan and his family. 
Research at CAARI
 
E.M. Jelajian: A Research Project Long Delayed but Richly Rewarded
 
Dr. Anna Reeve
University of Leeds
In November 2021 I was delighted to have the opportunity, long-delayed, to stay at CAARI and carry out research in Nicosia, generously funded by the Danielle Parks Memorial Fellowship. This trip was originally planned for 2020, and has been a beacon of hope on my horizon during the long months of lock-down; I was thrilled to be able to accomplish it at last.

A key purpose of my visit was to hold a round table workshop to take forward work on Empire and Excavation: critical perspectives on archaeology in British-period Cyprus, 1878-1960 (http://caari.org/programs/). This was originally planned as an in-person conference, but moved to a series of online events due to the restrictions of COVID-19. Following these, I and my fellow editors (Dr Thomas Kiely, A.G. Leventis curator of ancient Cyprus at the British Museum, and Dr Lindy Crewe, Director of CAARI) are producing an edited volume bringing together participants’ contributions. We had a productive and successful workshop, including a paper presentation by Nicholas Stanley-Price; after so much online activity, it was great to be able to listen, question and discuss in person again.

My current research centers on an Armenian Cypriot, Mr. E.M. Jelajian (c.1856 – 1936), who was a member of Kitchener’s Land Survey team and a collector of antiquities, some of which were exported to England, displayed in the Cyprus Pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924-1925, and subsequently sold. The trajectory of his collection sheds light on the complex, entangled histories of Cypriot archaeology, collecting and display in the early British period. Having exhausted the archival trail in England, I was keen to gain access to State Archive papers to learn more about Jelajian’s career and collecting activities. I was delighted to strike lucky and find a wealth of useful information, which will be incorporated in this work. Thanks to generous help from the staff of the Cyprus
Museum and Dr Kiely, I was able to trace some of Jelajian’s objects to the Museum’s collection, allowing a broader view of his engagement with museums in the two countries. I also took the opportunity to visit many of the fantastic museums in Nicosia, including several visits to the Cyprus Museum – an education in itself – and to the Leventis Municipal Museum, the Museum of the George and Nefeli Giabra Pierides Collection, and the Museum of the Pancyprian Gymnasium. It was very useful to have the opportunity to experience different approaches to the display and interpretation of Cypriot antiquities, and compare these to practices in museums in the UK. In addition, time spent in the CAARI library was invaluable for refining my draft corpus of Cypriot antiquities in Leeds Museums and Galleries.
 
My stay coincided with a visit of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cyprus, a group of MPs with a particular interest in Cyprus. Dr Kiely, Dr Crewe and I were
invited to a reception for this group hosted by the British archaeology and heritage with them. We were also honored to be invited to discuss the ‘Empire and Excavation: critical perspectives’ project with the High Commissioner, along with archaeological matters more generally.

Overall, my visit was extremely valuable in taking forward my research, as well as being immensely enjoyable. I am grateful to everyone who kindly took the time to share their knowledge and expertise with me, and most especially to CAARI for this opportunity and for its collegial hospitality, which I greatly value and appreciate.
Research at CAARI
 
A Great Opportunity at an Ungenerous Time
 
Dr. Alan Simmons
CAARI Trustee, Distinguished Professor Emeritus,
University of Nevada Las Vegas;
Research Associate, Desert Research Institute, Reno

I was extremely fortunate to have received a senior Fulbright award to continue my research into the earliest Cypriots. Less fortunate, however, was the timing of the award: at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, I was able to use half of the award, for two months (April and May, 2021), in Cyprus, headquartered at CAARI.

Originally, there were three components to the research. The first and primary was to work on the final monograph of our interdisciplinary investigations at Ais Giorkis, an early (ca. 7,600 BC) Neolithic site deep in the western foothills of the Troodos Mountains. It that had long played a pivotal role in my efforts to reshape our understanding of both the Neolithic era on Cyprus itself, and Cyprus’ importance within wider Neolithic developments. The Neolithic was a major period in human history, representing a time when humans gave up the economic structure that had characterized us for most of our existence… hunting and gathering. The Neolithic ushered in the domestication of plants and animals, and the establishment of permanent settlements, an event that has structured us to the present time. While the “Neolithic Revolution” occurred independently in several parts of the world, the Near East is the region where it first developed. In the past, Cyprus had long been considered a “footnote” to the Neolithic, representing seafaring groups who did not get to the island until ca. 7,000 BC. Current research, however, has dramatically changed this picture, and now we know that the Neolithic on Cyprus was as early (ca. 9,500 BC) as on the mainland, and represented a unique adaptation to the island. After working with Neolithic settlements on the mainland, I shifted to Cyprus several years ago and have been fortunate in directing excavations at Kholetria Ortos and now Ais Giorkis, an unusual upland settlement. Thus, the Fulbright award would allow me to devote a significant amount of time to preparing a monograph on the site.

Having the library resources of CAARI was invaluable, and most of the manuscript has now been prepared, which will be published by SIMA. This was a considerable task, given the multiple contributors to the volume, but I am happy to say that final editing is now underway. During my time in Nicosia, the American Embassy also arranged for a local Cypriot television interview at the Cyprus Museum (complete with mask!) discussing Ais Giorkis and other early Cypriot sites. This was widely viewed. 

The second component was obtaining additional residue samples on ground stone from Ais Giorkis and other Neolithic sites. Renée Corona Kolvet has been instrumental in this analysis, which has provided fresh evidence not only on food usage, but also for early medicinal use as well as other activities. These were unexpected results, and currently we are planning on obtaining additional samples, with support by a grant from the new joint National Endowment for the Humanities/Archaeological Institute of America program. We have obtained permission from several Principal Investigators to undertake this from their sites, but unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, only a limited amount has been done thus far until museum access is better.
The third component was to conduct test excavations at probable Epipaleolithic sites that we recorded during a 2019 survey. This project, taken in conjunction with my colleagues Sally Stewart, Lisa Maher, and Danielle Macdonald, located several coastal sites near Mazotos, and we intended to conduct test excavations at these, as seen here. Some preliminary funding has been obtained, but once again, COVID restrictions have not yet allowed for this work to be conducted.

During April and May I often was the only resident at CAARI, which at night was a somewhat unsettling experience given the sounds emanating from this old building. But, with the support of Lindy Crewe and the entire CAARI staff, I was made to feel like I had returned to a second home. I was especially grateful to Anthoulla Vassiliades for her help as CAARI's new librarian. During my time in Cyprus, I also visited the Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park, where several stone hippos stand guard over the pygmy hippo site (likely non-cultural) excavated by George Theodorou, seen below.
Stone hippopotamus Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park
The first site I excavated in Cyprus, Akrotiri Aetokremnos, established an antiquity of ca. 10,000 BC for humans on the island and indicated that they were ultimately responsible for the hippos’ extinction. Thus, I have a soft spot for these unique island-adapted animals, so it was nice to see a permanent tribute to them! I also was able to see Vathoulla Moustoukki  a couple of times, which added to the pleasure of being back in Cyprus. I also would like to thank Sondra Sainsbury of the American Embassy for the assistance she provided. And, I was able to consult with Paul Croft on the huge faunal assemblage from Ais Giorkis, and spend some time with David Pearlman, who showed me a newly discovered Neolithic site near Paphos. And, on a sadder note, I randomly stopped by the Kouklia Museum and happened to run into my dear friend Onisiforus Loucaides.  That was the last time I saw him alive, and I am grateful for that small gift. And, I will be honest: the ambience of the island and its usually active outdoor life has been impacted by COVID. Hopefully this will change!

I still have two months remaining on the award but given the uncertainly of COVID it is unclear that I will be able to use this…time will tell!  In summary, the bulk of the Fulbright has been used towards the preparation of a substantial volume on Ais Giorkis. It is somewhat ironic, however, that despite having funding for the residue and testing tasks, we find ourselves unable to undertake these at the present time! Usually, I’ve had great ideas for projects, but funding was always problematic. Such is life in the COVID era!

Thoughts for CAARI’s Future: Giving Tuesday

CAARI is initiating a new fund-raising effort, and we invite you to make it a custom of your own. It is dedicated to our fellowship program. CAARI’s fellowships are among its most important efforts. They are too important and too expensive to leave to chance. So we are drawing on the tradition of Giving Tuesday to create a way of bringing funds to them. Each year, Giving Tuesday donations will be devoted to supporting CAARI fellowships. Look at the very beautiful way in which CAARI Trustee Dr. Zuzana Chovanec discusses her own commitment to CAARI’s Giving Tuesday. Let her inspire you, and each year, we’ll let people know how Giving Tuesday went.

Giving back to CAARI’s fellowship program
 Dr. Zuzana Chovanec 

On November 30th, an increasing number of individuals, communities, and organizations participated in Giving Tuesday, which first started in 2012 and has now grown into a worldwide movement focused on encouraging and celebrating generosity. Seeing the ambitious research of CAARI’s current fellows being highlighted leading up to Giving Tuesday, reminded me of my own time spent at CAARI as a research fellow. As with other fellowship programs, new opportunities opened for me as they have and continue to do so for other CAARI research fellows, but perhaps the longest lasting result has been the generous community of colleagues with which I continue to engage. The uniqueness of the community and engagement that centers around CAARI through its fellowship programs has become that more evident over the nearly two years of challenges the world has faced in the COVID pandemic. It is for these reasons that I supported the fellowships this Giving Tuesday and will do so in future years, as CAARI continues to focus its future Giving Tuesday efforts to help fund its fellowships.

Thoughts for CAARI’s Future: Annual Giving

Giving Tuesday 2021 is past. We send heartiest thanks to ALL who gave!! But there is still the much-needed tradition of giving at the end of the calendar year. Please include CAARI in your generosity this season! Director Lindy Crewe has guided the Institute with deft wisdom through what we earnestly hope have been the most challenging phases of the pandemic, and CAARI is full of activity, energy, and hope. The staff are dedicated and truly skilled, the building is answering the demands put on it by COVID security, and the flow of researchers has filled its spaces with eagerness and conversation. CAARI is an institution to embrace with pride. Please help it stay that way:
 
 
CAARI relies more heavily on year-end giving than any other source of generosity. We need your help. To ALL who help to make CAARI’s Christmas bright: our sincerest thanks! To all who help CAARI sustain its potent mission: thank you for your generous participation! We are very grateful for your support.