TOWN (BRONZE AGE)

TOUMBA TOU SKOUROU

N° 68 a
Town / Village : Morphou / Güzelyurt

District : Morphou

 

DESCRIPTION :

Toumba tou Skourou was an important harbour town , at a time when the bay of Morphou reached further towards the island’s interior.

The archaeological site lies on the north bank of the Ovghos River. It is situated on an oblong mound in the north, which is separated by a pebble ramp from a group of houses on the south. The houses’entrances faced a street that lay parallel to the river.

Habitation is noted at the site from 1600 BC. and the first dwellers possibly came from nearby Lapethos. Although several Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites have been located in the Morphou area, an earlier settlement has not been found at Toumba tou Skourou. The settlers constructed a massive terrace wall approximately 30 m long. In the eastern part of the site a water channel was unearthed, probably an indication that the area was swampy and that the mound upon which the settlement was built was raised artificially, creating the impression of a small island.

The site consisted of buildings that were probably used as workshops. These were divided by low walls resembling benches that were capped with slabs of fine laminated gypsum. The large quantities of pottery collected, along with the traces of vessels positioned in a line along one of the walls, indicate the existence of pottery workshops. The variety of clays found, possibly collected from the Ovghos riverbed, were used for the manufacture of a wide range of fine ware pottery, characteristic of the transitional period from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.

The settlement was abandoned at around 1550 BC, possibly after an earthquake. The site was consequently filled in and raised 2m above its previous level. During this phase new floors were laid and new benches and kilns installed. Furthermore, an impressive industrial installation for the processing of clay was built along the mound’s south flank. The installation’s building was two meters high and measures 14.50 x 6.00 m. Its floor is made out of crushed waterproof stone and incluses a series of interlocking bassins and two huge storage pithoi which were set into the floor functioning as reservoirs or settingg-traps.

At around 1400 BC. the building underwent changes ; new brik walls were built along with additional industrial installations. There is evidence that metal working activities also occurred in the building during this phase. The three rectangular buildings, situated close to the river and to the south of the ramp, were laid with new floors and new walls and wells were built. House B is of special interest comprising of six rooms with plaster and flagstone floors. A large number of pithoi was found within the largest room, some of which measure more than six feet high. This room probably functioned as a pithoi salesroom. In the building’s open court there is evidence that spinning and weaving were carried out. House B’s final phase is dated to around 1220 BC. .

The remains of the Mycenaean period (12th c. BC.) have not been found in situ but are disturbed and scattered around the mound.

The next phase of occupation is in the Cypro-Geometric III period until the Archaic I (around 700 BC.). The remains belonging to this period are very fragmentary.

Period : Late Bronze Age

 

OUTSTANDING VALUE :

One of the most important Bronze Age sites on the island.

The archaeological remains are undoubtedly part of a larger Bronze Age town which has unfortunately not survived due to later interventions (i.e. use of its masonry for building material). In addition, the site is surrounded by citrus fruit orchards which possibly cover the rest of the remains.

MAPS / LINKS

 

DOCUMENTS  

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY :

Vermeule, E. : Toumba tou Skourou. The Mound of Darkness : A Bronze Age Town … Cambridge, 1974.

Vermeule E. : Toumba tou Skourou. A Bronze Age Potter’s Quarter …., Boston, 1990.

 

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NEWS / THREATS 

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