The Survey

The surface survey component of the AAP was supervised by P. Nick Kardulias and Richard W. Yerkes. This type of investigation involves teams walking systematically over the fields and recording the location of artifacts that are visible on the surface. Such work has become standard in the eastern Mediterranean and has expanded greatly our knowledge of the various ways that people distributed themselves in a region over time. The goal of our survey was to document past human use of the landscape in a 20 km2 area around the site of Athienou-Malloura. The main phases of the field investigation took place in 1991 and 1992, when large teams of field walkers covered the majority of the project area, with more targeted fieldwork in 1993–1998 and 2001–2005. Specific goals were to determine the extent of Athienou-Malloura (Site 1) and to reconstruct the settlement structure in the area from the earliest phase of occupation until the present. One key research question is how does Malloura relate to other sites of the same periods located in the project area? The survey data can be used to construct a settlement profile for the valley, provide a view of rural occupation in key periods (Cypro-Archaic to Early Byzantine, Late Byzantine to modern) and provide a regional context for the data from the excavation at Malloura. During the 1991 season the survey team covered 5.5 km2 (27.5% of the total project area) and identified 13 locations with high artifact densities as sites, ranging in date from the Aceramic Neolithic (6000 BCE) to the Ottoman periods. In 1992 our field teams traversed 8 km2, for a combined two-season total of 13.5 km2 (67.5% of the project area) and identified 7 additional sites. In subsequent years, field walking was limited to certain locations thought to be good site candidates based on the information gathered previously, a process through which we located 10 more sites, for a total of 30 in the valley. The latter work also involved revisiting certain sites to gather more artifacts and to record coordinates with GPS units for the creation of a GIS database.


We have determined that other than Malloura, there have been no major residential sites in the valley. The earliest sites are quarries from which people of the Aceramic Neolithic period extracted flint to manufacture tools over 8000 years ago, but did not actually settle in the valley. After a long gap with no sites during the remainder of the Neolithic, the Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age, there is some evidence of Late Geometric presence in the Malloura Sanctuary. Small scatters of artifacts indicate the presence of possible farmsteads in the Classical and Hellenistic periods in several locations. In addition, tombs are scattered around the central part of the valley. The lack of a substantial settlement that coincides with the tombs and the significant rural Sanctuary that has been the focus of the excavation is puzzling. The evidence is slightly more abundant for the Roman and Early Byzantine periods, when a large village develops at Malloura, and it is by far the dominant settlement in the valley. The area seems to have been abandoned from the late seventh to late thirteenth centuries. Frankish and Venetian pottery found in several locations, including around Petrophani, indicates a time of renewed low-level settlement that lasts until the nineteenth century. A small compound of houses on the west side of the valley is the only substantial domestic compound, other than a diminished Malloura village, by the turn of the twentieth century. Archaeologists refer to this distribution of remains as a nucleated pattern in which one place (Malloura) largely dominates the residential structure of a region, with people otherwise scattered only loosely through an area. We have also collected data about modern site distribution, and we see heavy agricultural and pastoral use of the valley over the past half century, with no permanent residents. In short, use of the Malloura Valley largely exhibits a consistent pattern since the first people arrived here over 8000 years ago. Times of higher (though never very large) population are interspersed with very low numbers of people. Population in all periods is low as people probably exploited the valley’s agricultural potential by keeping large areas unoccupied. This trend continues to the present day, with barley fields covering most of the valley.

For more specific information on the AAP survey, see Kardulias, P.N., “The Malloura Survey,” Chapter 7 in Crossroads and Boundaries, 2011 (87–105).