ChoirokoitiaMay 7 in Cyprus
Up and doing for a prompt breakfast before driving out to Choirokoitia. Danny and Beth were giving this a miss so for a change I was driving rather than navigating. The motorway was new and, for the most part pretty deserted so driving was a pleasure. The central reservation was full of oleander in shades of pink and white. The site was about 1hr 10mins according to Google maps and that seemed about right. The site was easy to find from the motorway and seemed to be having a big cash injection, new block paved parking being laid, some new paths and detailed info boards in French and Greek with a bit of English (thanks to Total who were obviously doing a bit of CSR). Before heading onto the site proper we stopped for a coffee at a tiny bakery which had an assortment of pastries for sale. I spotted the tiny savouries topped with sesame seeds (one filled with tapenade and the other with feta) Margaret and Libby decided to share what they thought was a large raisin filled pastry but it turned out to be the local equivalent of a cheese filled cornish pasty!
Suitably fortified we headed on to the site which trailed up a hillside. The remains here date from around 7000 BCE. At the bottom archaeologists had reconstructed some of the houses so you could get an idea of how they were used. They were slightly reminiscent of Skara Brae with stone built shelves and some with burial areas in them. There were some smaller huts too which they think were workshops.
The lower village was surrounded by walls but the theory is that they were for community cohesion rather than defensive against predators (animal or human).
In the ruins the huts were very close together with only small open areas and narrow walkways. It is hard to get a sense of how many people might have made up this community. The site spread up the hill and we can't really tell how close chronologically the locations were but up there the wall appeared more defensive and the entrance to the village was well hidden.
We walked back down looking across to terraces that might well have been started in the same era. It seems to be one of those sites that has more secrets to reveal yet. At the bottom we got talking to the expat Brummie who was working in the ticket office (he's been on Cyprus for 30 years).
We took the opportunity to fill the cars up (full service petrol station) and then headed back to Episcopi to the Kourion museum which had been closed the other day. Anotber lovely little museum just two rooms, the most haunting/ interesting exhibit was from the earthquake house at Kourion; three skeletons wrapped around each other, a man of about 25 protecting a woman of about 19 who in turn was curled around an 18 month old baby.
Apart from that there were some lovely examples of lettering including a votive offering after being cured. Also there were some more interesting figurines from the archaic period. We had a short chat with the on - site archaeologist and then back into the cars for the drive back to Paphos.
Back in time for a quick dip followed by cocktails on the terrace (a Singapore sling). Dinner in the hotel followed by Danny's film quiz in which Moira, Beth, Margaret and I lost by 3 points.
A tremendous storm blew in for about 20 mins preceeded by huge lightening flashes and winds that managed to make the bathroom ceiling lift and clack in a disturbing manner.Read more