Lindy Crewe (Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute) will address the topic “Excavating a looted cemetery: methods and results from Chalcolithic Souskiou-Laona on Cyprus”. The event is part of Aegean Lecture series.
The partial or wholesale destruction of archaeological sites is an increasing problem
in the Near East and eastern Mediterranean. Opportunistic and systematic looting of
cemeteries to acquire objects for sale on the antiquities market has been ongoing for
centuries, a problem that shows little signs of abating despite international efforts.
This paper presents the results of fieldwork undertaken from 2001–2006 at the Middle
Chalcolithic (c. 3000 BC) cemetery of Souskiou-Laona on Cyprus, part of a unique
complex of sites comprising a settlement and surrounding extramural cemeteries.
These cemeteries were previously thought to have been thoroughly looted for the anthropomorphic figurines and pendants that characterise the period. Complete exposure
of the outcrop revealed a diverse set of rockcut features and associated evidence for funerary ritual. Perhaps most striking was the presence of intact features both with and
without human interments and/or grave goods. The aim of this paper is to present
the methodologies developed and results obtained to highlight the archaeological possibilities of this type of project in the face of increasing destructions worldwide.