Kolossi (Chypre) - Archaeological excavations at the Medieval Sugar Mill


Archaeological excavations at the Medieval Sugar Mill of Kolossi 2009, 2010


The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces the completion of the sixteenth (2009) and seventeenth (2010) period of excavations at the Medieval Sugar Mill of Kolossi. The excavation was conducted under the direction of the Curator of Antiquities, Dr Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, with the assistance of archaeologist Mrs Doria Nicolaou and technicians of the Department of Antiquities, Mrs M. Makri-Chamberlain and Mr A. Tavelis.

The main aim of the 2009 season was the completion of investigations within the ellipsoidal stone construction that had been investigated in 2008, as well as the extension of the excavation towards the south. Excavations in the south uncovered a retaining wall (1,50 m. wide), possibly associated with restoration work of a later date. The pottery is fairly homogeneous as seen by the preponderance of sherds belonging to clay vessels related to the filtration of sugar and also a small number of the Lapithos workshop glazed ware sherds. Excavations also focused on the southwestern limits of the excavated site where the sugar mill’s westernmost wall to date was found to extend in a southerly direction. Although pottery is scarce here, some sherds belonging to a glazed bowl were found as well as a green glazed sherd and two bricks with traces of intense burning. It is clear that the west wall’s extension is a later addition, as seen by the appearance of the natural bedrock which bears a cutting forming a channel.

The main research aims of the 2010 season of excavations were the continuation of investigations in the southern area of the site and the removal of part of a later wall, which constitutes the southern extension of the northern wall of the rooms where the crushing of sugar took place. This wall sits above the abandonment layers of the sugar producing workshop. In addition, the excavation of the cistern was completed and further investigations were conducted within the underground channel through which the water powering the mill flowed.

Excavations in the area between the site’s westernmost wall and the retaining wall uncovered walls built upon the natural bedrock that could be considered to belong to the sugar-mill’s first phase of construction and use. In this area, the longevity of the space was also confirmed stratigraphically. Within the layer that lies between the first (oldest) and the second floor, incised sherds from glazed-ware vessels were found, possibly belonging to the Lapithos workshops.

The excavation also moved towards the east where a wall was uncovered with an east-west direction, leading to a pillar in the west. Another wall was uncovered with a north-south direction, perpendicular to the wall that was discovered in previous seasons. At a later date, a 5 X 5,20m. space was formed with its entrance in the south wall. Along the room’s south wall and carved in the natural bedrock, a rectangular cistern was found (2,30 X 1,23 m.). The cistern is connected via a channel to another previously excavated cistern situated to the south of the press. Large flat stone slabs were unearthed at the level of the cistern’s mouth, demonstrating the method used to seal the cistern. Movable finds consist of pottery sherds from the characteristic vessels used for sugar filtration.

During the following season of investigations it will be attempted to date and understand the use of the later structures as well as the extension of the site to the southwest.