SCY132 : Klirou Manastirka

Gridded Circles

Grid reference: 517370/3873500Cadastral plan:
SIA: SIA 2 (Klirou Manastirka)
Survey units: 3001, 3043 Captions

SCY132: Distribution of sherds and tile fragments
SCY132: Distribution of pottery by period

The first investigation of Klirou Manastirka took place in 1996, but could only be preliminary because the slopes of the ridge on which the church stands were thick with wild oats and grass, severely limiting visibility. An iron cross of nine circles was laid out on the southeast slope in an area planted with young olives, where the visibility was marginally better. This was supplemented by a much larger series of gridded circles and grabs in the fields to the south, carried out in 1997. There is a clear concentration of material close to the church, with tile reaching 20 pieces per sq m and pottery 25 per sq m. Most of the datable pottery in this area is Medieval to Modern, decreasing from 9.6 sherds per sq m to 1.6 at the bottom of the slope, farthest from the church. This is in contrast to the slag, which gradually increases in density moving away from the church, reaching 56 pieces per sq m at the southeastern end of the line.

The work to the south of the church in 1997 consisted of 69 circles, which were 2 m in diameter and set out 10 or 20 m apart, with grabs in between. Only in the northernmost circle nearest the church did the figures approach in quantity those laid out southeast of the church. Elsewhere total densities of pottery and tile were much lower, typically ranging from two to five pieces per sq m. Twenty circles had no pottery at all. For specific periods, there was a low concentration of Geometric-Classical pottery in the southeast, with between 0.3 and 1.0 sherds per sq m; this seemed too localised to be general background from manuring, dumping or erosion. Hellenistic-Roman pottery was even lower but more widespread, and its typical array of 0.3-0.6 sherds per sq m is more likely to derive from manuring or possibly erosion from upslope. Medieval-Modern material, although substantially less than that adjacent to the church, was broadly and evenly spread; typical figures ranged from 0.5 to 1.0 sherds per sq m.


39 of the sherds collected were identified as belonging to Geometric, Archaic and/or Classical material. Most are undiagnostic coarse ware, or other undecorated wares. A small amount of Cypriot Red Slip, Greek imported fine wares and a knobbed base amphora fragment are most diagnostic of the Archaic to Classical periods. The nature of the material collected is not suggestive of a specific activity in the area, but its very localised spread might suggest a tomb or other concentrated deposit.


Of the 771 sherds collected from SCY132, none were identifiably Hellenistic, and only three were Early Roman, all fine wares. One of these was a locally produced Cypriot Sigillata body sherd dating to the 1st century AD; the other two were imported 1st century AD Eastern Sigillata A produced in Syria. Of the 43 Late Roman sherds (5.6%), nine were fine wares and 20 were amphora sherds. Most fine wares were locally produced Cypriot Red Slip (CRS): two unidentifiable; one CRS form 8 (6th century AD?); and four CRS form 9 (580-700 AD). There is also one piece of African Red Slip, and a Phocaean Ware form 10 (570-625 AD) from Syria, perhaps showing continuity with the early Roman Eastern Sigillata A sherds from Syria. The amphora sherds show a similar pattern. The majority were locally produced, but two were definitely not produced on the island: one was probably from Africa, and the other from the eastern Aegean.

The Late Roman collection of sherds includes transport, cooking, fine and coarse wares. With the exception of the Late Roman frying pan, all the standard Late Roman chronotypes -including a Dhiorios cooking pot, Late Roman basins and a piecrust rim -were present. SCY132 clearly indicates a thriving area that had commercial ties with all parts of the Late Antique world. While the majority of sherds grouped towards the AD 400-700 time period, it seems clear that there was continuity throughout the Roman era.


Of the 771 sherds from SCY132, 349 or 45% were from the Medieval to Modern periods. Of these, however, 268 could not be identified any more closely than Medieval/Modern, a problem encountered across SIA 2 as a whole. Interestingly, proportions of periods and chronotypes were very similar within SCY132 as in SIA 2, which vindicates in general our use of the two collection strategies in tandem. In terms of pottery function, most concentrations of material were too small and inadequately dated to indicate the presence of the reported monastery.