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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Europe - Cyprus - Prastio-Mesorotsos Archaeological Expedition - 2014

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2014-06-08
End Date 2014-07-13

Archaeology Field School Location

Kouklia, Paphos, Cyprus

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution

The University of Edinburgh

Academic Credit


Archaeology Field School Tuition

$2000 including tuition, room and board.

Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs

Fee includes registration, accommodations, program activities and meals on workdays. Airfare, weekend meals and optional excursions are additional.

Archaeology Field School Description

The Prastio-Mesorotsos Project seeks to understand the prehistory and historical periods of western Cyprus by conducting several seasons of archaeological investigation at a multi-period site. It is also run as an archaeological field school through the University of Edinburgh.

The site of Prastio-Mesorotsos is a previously unexcavated settlement that has produced artefactual and stratigraphic evidence suggesting that the site was occupied from the Neolithic through the Middle Cypriot Bronze Age, spanning elusive periods that are underrepresented in western Cyprus. Because a site of this kind, with a long sequence of the unique western-Cypriot material culture, has never been excavated before, there is the potential to define a previously unstudied chronological sequence and material culture. Mesorotsos, along with ongoing excavations at other sites, could be a missing piece to the puzzle of western Cypriot prehistory.

The site appears to have been abandoned in the Late Cypriot Bronze Age, a time of burgeoning urbanisation on the island, and it is likely that the inhabitants of Prastio-Mesorotsos moved to the nearby centre of Palaipaphos (Old Paphos), modern Kouklia. The timing of Prastio’s abandonment may give us an unprecedented glimpse as to when and why the urban centre of Paphos with its important cultic sanctuary was established.

Prastio-Mesorotsos was then re-occupied in the Iron Age and was probably continuously inhabited through the Hellenistic/Roman, Byzantine, Medieval and Ottoman periods until the modern village was established immediately opposite the river. In the late 19th century, this location was the stronghold of an infamous band of bandits called the Hassan Poulia, who since being captured and executed by the British have taken on a mythological ‘Robin Hood-like’ status. The area around the site continued to be used by the inhabitants of Prastio village until 1953, when an earthquake made the houses in Prastio unsafe. The site and village were abandoned and never reoccupied after fighting broke out in the area.

The long lifespan of this settlement provides a never-before-seen opportunity to investigate much of Cyprus’ past in one place, and this project is seeks to understand as much about the history of this location as possible. The main activities this season will be excavation of archaeological remains (artefacts and architecture), and post-excavation processing of the finds, although some systematic surface collection and GIS work will also be undertaken.

Participants must be reasonably fit and very enthusiastic. Please ensure you have a current Anti-tetanus vaccination and travel insurance. Further information will be supplied upon acceptance to the project. Expedition members should familiarise themselves with the Field Safety Guidelines, available at:

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Archaeology Field School Type


Time Period

Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early-Middle Bronze Age, Roman, Byzantine, Medieval

Field School Setting/Conditions

The setting is idyllic, and while the rural charms of the Dhiarizos valley make the site a nice place to work, we will never be far away from built-up areas. A fairly major A-road leading from the coast to the Troodos mountains runs just adjacent to the site, and a nice café called ‘Xtreme View’ is situated just on the edge of the archaeological remains.Prospective applicants are advised that days will be long and hot, and the work physically arduous. The naturally and artificially terraced terrain is grassy, scrubby and thorny with some olive and carob trees. The rocky outcrop around which the site is situated is steep and treacherous, but there may be an opportunity for some students to safely investigate the Byzantine/Medieval remains located on this outcrop.

We will be based in Kouklia, a charming village with several tavernas and cafes, which is situated on the remains of ancient Palaeopaphos, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

How is the project area accessed each day

Students will be driven each day to and from site.

What is the daily schedule for the field school

Typically we work Sunday to Friday, 5am-12pm on site, with afternoon post-excavation work or lectures. Friday is a half-day, with Friday afternoon and Saturday the designated days off.

Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
Is there a professional certification for this field school


Directors and Instructors

Dr Andrew McCarthy, University of Edinburgh

Ms Lisa Graham, University of Edinburgh

Dr Vasiliki Koutrafouri, University of Edinburgh

Ms Alison McCaig

Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn

The fieldschool aims to familiarize students with the methods and ethics of modern archaeological excavation and analysis. All team members will be expected to excavate in the trenches, but conditions will vary. Participants will take part in all aspects of excavation, and there will be opportunities for students to partake in the recording of excavated features. Furthermore, as excavated materials accumulate, there will be various post-excavation tasks required, and opportunities will be available to become more familiar with particular aspects of post-excavation logging and analysis. Since the site is multi-period, it is possible for students to work with the material that best suits their academic interests.

On rain days will there be lab work?

Rain is highly unlikely!

Will there be additional organized activities?

Several half-day and full-day excursions to various archaeological sites in Cyprus are planned.

Will there be additional organized activities?

There will be lectures on pertinent subjects throughout the course. These normally take place in the early evening, before dinner.

Is travel restriced during free time?


Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Website:

Field School Contact Information

Dr Andrew McCarthy
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
The University of Edinburgh
Doorway 4
Teviot Place
Edinburgh, EH8 9AG

Field School Contact E-mail:
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