The Bronze Age Necropolis at Ayia Paraskevi (Nicosia).
Unpublished Tombs in the Cyprus Museum.
by Susan F. Kromholz
The necropolis of Ayia Paraskevi (Nicosia) in Cyprus was in continual use from the early Bronze Age into the Iron Age. Between 1923 and 1963 the Cyprus Museum acquired ten tomb groups or partial tomb groups from the site. The contents of these comprise this study. The tomb groups, numbered Ayia Paraskevi Tomb 6 to Ayia Paraskevi Tomb 15, vary in number of objects from 387 to 2. Three of them are the result of systematic excavation (Tombs 6, 8 and 10). Three represent rescued material from looted tombs (Tombs 7, 9, 15). Four consist of a few objects rescued from tombs accidently opened during construction operations; the chambers containing the majority of the material were re-sealed without excavation (Tombs 11, 12, 13 and 14). The pottery found in the Ayia Paraskevi tombs includes many of the standard Bronze Age wares. In general, the vessels are standard in shape and decoration. However, variations occur often enough to suggest that the site might have been a center of pottery production. Among the most striking variations are the Red Polished amphora with horizontal loop handles, the Red Slip/Black Slip II spouted juglets, the White Painted IV disc-base jugs, the entire collection of Red Slip/Black Slip IV vessels, all of the Red Slip/Black Slip Wheelmade vessels, and the White Slip milkbowls. Further, the very high number of Plain White ware vessels found in the tombe suggests local manufacture. The small finds from the tombs include three interesting terracotta figurines, ona gold bead, ona carnelian pendant, one alabaster aryballos, one unusual faience bead, an incised ivory rod, a metal knucklebone and three cylinder seals. All three seals bear Cypriote syllabary signs, as do the handles of several jugs. All of the signs appear to be standard, although the relatively large number found on Plain White Wheelmade jugs and on Bucchero jugs is unusual. The circumstances of excavation have rendered the ten tomb groups essentially useless chronologically. The groups are either unstratified, or the stratigraphy is confused. Further, there are very few plans showing the original tomb chambers, and, very little is recorded concerning the burials. The lack of imported objocts among the finds also complicates the problem of establishing a chronology for the tomb groups. Given these problems, and the surprising lack of evidence for trade to be found in the ten tomb groups, it is possible only to suggest that the necropolis of Ayia Paraskevi (Nicosia) seems to have served a number of sizeable provincial settlements during the Bronze age. It would be interesting if a survey could be carried out to determine a terminus a quo and a terminus ad quem, for the utilisation of the necropolis. In any case, the material studied here serves to clarify the importance of this heavily damaged site to the prehistory of Cyprus.
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