SCY214 : Klirou Klirovourna

Roman Estate/Farmstead

Grid reference: 515500/3874000
Cadastral plan: XXXVII/7
Aerial photograph: 1993, Run 174, No. 200
Survey units: 1143-44

SCY214: Pottery and Tile Counts; Late Roman 1 Amphora.

SCY214 is a raised river terrace surrounded on three sides by a water course. This POSI was first discovered during regular transect survey in 1995, in part because of its concentration of Roman tiles, including one round early Roman hypocaust tile, and large fragments. An examination of the 1963 aerial photographs revealed that the area had been extensively graded over the last 30 years. Located on the edge of the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, Klirovourna consists of two bulldozed terraces with a north/northeast aspect overlooking the agricultural area of Mazerka and the modern town of Klirou. It is situated close to a natural pass that leads south into the mountains and to the Medieval bridge over the Akaki river gorge (SCY302).

In 1963, SCY214 was a low, rocky hillside with several large trees. Distinct linear shadows on the aerial photograph seem to indicate the presence of a small to medium-sized building with at least two chambers, situated in the eastern part of Sub-Units 2 and 14 or the western part of Sub-Units 4 and 15, and an adjoining wall running east to west along a low bank, crossing Sub-Unit 4. This bank faces north with a good view of the Klirou/Mazerka area. The intensive ploughing and grading of the hill has removed most traces of the buildings, but the features on the 1963 aerial photograph suggests that the building was in situ prior to the modern terracing of the hill.

SCSP collected and analysed 126 pottery sherds collected from this POSI, and 25 tiles. A few of these dated to the Classical period, but there were none from the Hellenistic-Early Roman periods. The majority of identifiable sherds date to Late Roman times. All sherds derive from domestic wares such as basins and amphorae; no fine wares were discovered beyond a few from the Medieval-Ottoman periods. Several Late Roman 1 amphora fragments were present, from a type probably manufactured on the island.

The large number of tile fragments (523) includes three main types (L-profiled angular; flat-rounded; low gable tiles), and one early Roman hypocaust tile. This pattern suggests the presence of a substantial building or a series of smaller buildings constructed on the site over several different periods. When the tile distribution is plotted against the pottery distribution), the areas of highest pottery density are in the sub-units with the highest tile density (Sub-Units 3, 4, 5, and 15). These same sub-units also have higher concentrations of Late Roman material, particularly Late Roman 1 amphorae and Late Roman basins. This distribution shows clearly that, during the Late Roman period, the building was located at the top of the knoll overlooking the agricultural areas, and that its rooms were probably used as storerooms for agricultural products. The nearby presence of dense scatters of stones suitable for the construction of mud-brick and tile buildings indicates that this building would have been very similar to traditional houses found throughout the survey area.

The lower terrace at SCY214 contained distinct distributions of tile and pithos fragments. These large amounts of settlement debris appear to have been deposited by normal processes, but more recently were bulldozed into a sickle-shaped terrace. This activity has resulted in very low pottery counts at the northwest end of the terrace and a dense concentration of tile and pithos sherds in its central area. A significant number of tile and pottery fragments showed signs of burning, some at very high temperatures. Thus we might conclude that a structure on this POSI had been damaged or destroyed by fire. The mixture of burnt and unburnt material suggests that the building was damaged and then repaired, or else destroyed with another building constructed on the site at a later period.

Based on the material evidence and the location (in foothills with a marginal agricultural potential), SCY214 appears to have been a small farmstead devoted to the storage of produce; it may well have exploited other local resources to supplement the cereal production at the Roman village of Klirou Limni (SCY364). Other habitational elements situated to the south and southwest of Klirou (e.g., SIA 2; SIA 9; SCY205) have large amounts of Roman material and are also involved with activities distinct from cereal production (e.g., mining, smelting, storage). It is also possible that the inhabitants of Klirou Klirovourna were involved in raising livestock, since the woods in these foothills provide excellent fodder for grazing animals like pigs and goats. The locality now supports flourishing olive, almond and fig groves with little modification. This POSI, together with Klirou Manastirka (SIA 2) and Klirou Koutis (SCY205) perhaps made up a series of radiating nodules of support for the Klirou area during the late Roman period, providing alternative resources and food produce to the cereal crops that would have been the focus of the settlement in and around Roman Klirou.