The Department of Antiquities, Deputy Ministry of Culture, announces the completion of the excavations of the North Carolina State University at Makounta-Voules-Mersinoudia, Paphos District.

From 3 June to 10 July 2023, the Makounta-Voules Archaeological Project (MVAP) conducted excavations at the prehistoric site of Makounta-Voules-Mersinoudia in the Paphos District, northeast of Polis-Chrysochous. The project was directed by Dr. Kathryn Grossman (North Carolina State University), with funding from the US National Science Foundation and in collaboration with Dr. Tate Paulette (North Carolina State University), Dr. Lisa Graham (College of Southern Nevada), and Dr. Andrew McCarthy (College of Southern Nevada). Students from North Carolina State University and other colleges across the US joined the team this year.

Intensive survey at Makounta-Voules-Mersinoudia in 2017 produced evidence for occupation during the Late Chalcolithic period and Bronze Age. During three subsequent excavation seasons (2018, 2019, and 2022), the team uncovered evidence for a series of round buildings dating to the Chalcolithic period, fire installations of uncertain date and function, and copper mining activities at the site. In 2023, excavations focused on expanding our understanding of the Chalcolithic village and learning more about the fire installations.

The earliest context exposed during the 2023 season was the stone foundation of a Chalcolithic period round building. This building was not preserved in its entirety; approximately half of the circumference remains. The building appears to have been in use at the same time as an adjacent round building exposed during previous seasons. In total, three Chalcolithic round buildings have been uncovered at the site, and a small portion of a wall uncovered in 2023 might be the edge of a fourth. These buildings all feature interior floor assemblages comprising ceramic vessel fragments, stone tools, animal bones, pieces of the collapsed wall, and other artifacts.

Excavations in 2023 also exposed two superimposed fire installations. While the purpose of the upper fire installation cannot be determined with certainty, the lower one appears to have been used for firing ceramic vessels, though it may also have had other uses. These fire installations have been dated by associated ceramics to the Middle Bronze Age.

Work at the site of Makounta-Voules-Mersinoudia is yielding important new information about the Chalcolithic period and the Bronze Age on the island’s northwest coast. The recently completed 2023 excavation season builds on previous work at the site and at the same time opens up new questions about social life in prehistoric Cyprus.