A countryside in transition: The Galinoporni-Kaleburnu (Cyprus) in the passage from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages (ca. 600–ca. 850)
Akademie Ved Ceske Republiky * Archeologicky Ustav, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Archeology
233 - 251
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This paper aims to both tip the chronologically-unbalanced rural surveys conducted on the island of Cyprus in the last decades (as focusing almost exclusively on the Roman and Late Antique period) and re-assess the traditional historiographical interpretation of the fate of local rural settlements and population in the passage from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages (i.e. between the late sixth to the early ninth century). Indeed, we cannot simply take for granted that at the time under scrutiny Cyprus was overwhelmed by Arab incursions turning the island into a no man’s land, severing commercial and shipping routes, bringing to an end any economic, social and cultural form of life in the countryside, causing massive depopulation and abandonment of prosperous rural villages along the coasts in favor of hastily built and fortified (often seasonal) hilltop settlements. In the light of the latter remark, the authors will use the preliminary results of a recent extensive rural survey conducted in the plain of Galinoporni/Kaleburnu on the Karpas peninsula to propose a picture of the Cypriot landscape as characterized by the early medieval resilience of the varied range of rural settlements (farms, hamlets and villages) dating back to previous centuries and by the lack of any catastrophic occupational gaps after the mid-seventh century.