Online Review: Book

Vasilikos Valley Project 9: The Field Survey of the Vasilikos Valley. Vol. 1

Michael Given

111.3

By Ian A. Todd. With contributions by Despo Pilides, Basil Gomez, Julie Hansen, and J. Malcolm Wagstaff, and with the assistance of Grace Burkholder, Larissa S. Hordynsky, Jerald J. Johnson, Murray C. McClellan, and Marcus Rautman. Pp. xviii + 209, figs. 50, pls. 51. Paul Åströms Förlag, Sävedalen 2004. $109.40. ISBN 91-7081-125-3 (paper).

Since its inception in 1976, the Vasilikos Valley Project on the south coast of Cyprus has carried out six substantial excavations of sites ranging from the Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. The project’s field survey was designed to put these and other sites into the context of their physical environment and human settlement systems, while investigating human–land relationships in the valley across all periods. More specifically, it aimed to investigate the periods, density, and longevity of occupation across the valley, with a particular interest in continuity and change during the prehistoric period (19).

The fieldwork was carried out in some seven seasons between 1976 and 1990, in 100 m wide transects crossing the valley 500 m apart. Within each transect, a field team of normally two to four field walkers zigzagged across the area, identifying and recording sites and defining their areas. Larger sites were gridded more intensively.

This volume is the first of two and consists of introductory material and a thorough catalogue of the 135 sites recorded by the project. The artifacts and the interpretation of the settlement system will be published in a second volume (Vasilikos Valley Project 10), currently in preparation.

The introductory material includes a useful account of the physical geography of the Vasilikos Valley (though mostly reprinted with emendations from I. Todd et al., Vasilikos Valley Project 6 [Göteborg 1987]). There is a helpful discussion of the survey’s research design, plus a vivid account of the many current threats to archaeological sites in the Cypriot landscape, which make systematic field survey a priority not just here but across Cyprus as a whole.

The 117-page catalogue of 135 sites is careful, systematic, and thorough, and includes extensive information on the location, context, layout, and condition of each site, and useful summaries of the artifacts. Although Iron Age, Roman, and to a lesser extent Medieval and Early Modern sites and components are recorded, there is a clear emphasis on the prehistoric periods, in keeping with the wider aims of the project.

The sites are carefully located on topographical maps, and there is a complete set of aerial photographs of the valley, though unfortunately without the sites marked on them. Maps and plans of the individual sites are restricted to a few topographical maps and some useful maps of the larger complexes of sites. A detailed and helpful set of concordances and indices allow the researcher to look for sites of a particular period and to match sites with cadastral plots, museum accession numbers, and Cyprus Survey numbers.

Two appendices provide a summary catalogue of tombs in Kalavasos Village (of which the full publication, entitled Vasilikos Valley Project 11, is now in press) and a description of the surface survey of the Late Bronze Age pottery production site of Sanidha-Moutti tou Ayiou Serkou.

This volume will be of use to those researching sites and settlement patterns of specific periods in Cyprus, particularly prehistoric. The broader value of the project will only emerge with the publication of the artifact and interpretation volume.

Michael Given
Department of Archaeology
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
United Kingdom
m.given@archaeology.arts.gla.ac.uk

Book Review of Vasilikos Valley Project 9: The Field Survey of the Vasilikos Valley. Vol. 1, by Ian A. Todd
Reviewed by Michael Given
American Journal of Archaeology Volume 111, Number 4 (July 2007), published online at www.ajaonline.org/online-review-book/507
DOI: 10.3764/ajaonline1113.Given

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