SCY130 : Kalokhorio Alonia

Grid reference: 513390/3874300
Cadastral plan:
Survey units: None (2710-2715 are immediately to the east)

Kalokhorio Alonia lies in the Akaki river valley, just above the flat arable river terraces and more or less opposite the village of Kalokhorio. To the southwest, the valley closes in and becomes steep-sided; to the northeast it broadens out into the Klirou-Malounda plain. At its nearest point the river is just 200 m southeast of Alonia, but at this point it runs through a steep incised gorge and is difficult of access. 750m northeast is Mutoyephiron bridge (SCY302), which dates to some point in the early or middle Ottoman period and is quite possibly earlier; this would have been the nearest convenient access to the river and the village of Kalokhorio.

The settlement at Kalokhorio Alonia was discovered during the survey of Transect 513.5 by Team West in 1996, though the main structure is easily visible from the Aredhiou-Palekhori road. A sketch map was drawn, the structures briefly described, but no finds were collected (partly because of bad visibility). Unfortunately we never found the time to record this site properly.

The settlement now consists of five abandoned building complexes, mostly built of basalt river stones packed with small stones and tile fragments. Some show traces of more recent habitation, with solid bricks sized 12" x 6" x 2". A gully runs through the middle of the site, and terraces on its northeastern side hold almonds and olives. The main road cuts through between the southernmost building and the river gorge.

Apart from a few pieces of red ware in the almond and olive groves adjacent to the site, no pottery was observed in the very quick investigation in 1996; none was collected. The survey units in Transect 513.5, 100m to the east, contained some Medieval/Modern pottery, but visibility was very bad. Judging from equivalent village architecture, the structures perhaps date to the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, with rebuilding and reuse in the middle of the century. They might well have older predecessors. The early twentieth century did see a general expansion in rural structures, due to increasing intensity of agricultural production and better security in the countryside.

There are two main possibilities for function: seasonal settlement, and estate. The locality name (alonia or 'threshing floors') suggests that it was used in the summer for growing and processing grain. This was the function of the broadly similar, if slightly larger, settlements of Siphilos and Palloura west of Mitsero. It is certainly in the right position, being the first patch of arable land met coming down the Akaki river valley from the south. It is recorded that land in the area of Klirou was owned by villagers from Gourri, Lazania and Phikardou to the south for this purpose. The structures would be storerooms and seasonal houses for the visiting farmers.

The other possibility, suggested by the one high status house, is that it formed a small estate, with a main house for the bailiff and various storage sheds and housing for workers. Akhera is the nearest example of this, though it is on a rather larger scale. If this is the case, it would probably only apply to the Ottoman period. It may be the case that it started as a small estate, and then privatised and used by individual villagers as a seasonal settlement (the name 'Siphilos Chiftlik' implies the same history for that settlement).