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The ancient settlement at Khirokitia

The ancient settlement of Chirokitia (named after a nearby village) because of its preservation and the abundance of finds is unique among Neolithic archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Researchers are still not clear the origin of this ancient Cypriot culture. A number of local and foreign historians believe that its early phases must be sought as a matter of Cyprus and on the Asian mainland. The results of archaeological research allow to speak about the contacts of the inhabitants of Khirokitia with Anatolia, the ancient settlements of the valley of Antioch and Northern Syria. Data of radiocarbon analysis showed that the population of Khirokitia occurred in approximately 5000 BC

2 December 1998 settlement of Choirokoitia was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites under number 848 according to IV, V, VI criteria, as this settlement, first, the earliest phase of studies for the Cyprus procainamidesee Neolithic period (criterion IV); secondly, a characteristic example of a significant human settlement, fragile as a result of its great antiquity and its location in a rapidly changing environment (criterion V); finally, the settlement related to the ideas and beliefs of historical importance, which is manifested in several aspects of material culture: for example, the use in funeral rites figurines testifies to ritual and religiondispatches (criterion VI). The site was discovered in 1934 by P. Diseasem. which produce further archaeological work from 1936 to 1946 To 1977, began excavations under the direction of Alain Le Brun, Director of the French archaeological mission in Cyprus.

During archaeological excavations at khirokitia found a large number of different objects. They talk about the existence in Cyprus of a highly developed Neolithic culture. The burials found in necklaces, pins, spindle whorls, pendants, stone beads. In the manufacture of stone tools to handles the bone was used, it produced the same pins, needles, spindles.

During excavations found many tools made of obsidian (volcanic glass) and bone fragments of silicon sickles, millstones. Ancient islanders were familiar with spinning and weaving, skillfully processed stone and wood. Stone utensils made with their hands, simple in form but carefully treated: the surface is decorated with ornaments in relief or incised cruciform shapes. Vessels, mainly flat and open, have the most diverse forms. Almost all of them have a drain spout. On the handles of individual vessels depicting human or animal (usually sheep and bovine) head. Attempts have been made to manufacture clay pots, but without notable success.

The settlement can be traced and the emergence of certain religious beliefs. This primarily refers to the funeral rite reflects the belief in the afterlife. In khirokitia found idols — specimens of ancient sculpture of Cyprus. It is a flat stone of asexual figures with conventionally interpreted heads and one female figurine of unbaked clay.

Burial arranged between the houses or under floors inside. Often it is a lonely grave where the deceased was placed in a contorted position. Together with the skeleton usually find stone vessels, broken out ritual reasons. Sometimes together with a female skeleton are rich funerary gifts, which allows to make the assumption that some women were particularly revered. The body of the deceased is usually put a heavy object — a stone slab or a millstone as dead scary.

The study of human remains and well-preserved skeletons helped to restore the image of the inhabitants of the settlement. They were all undersized: male approximately 1.6 m, and the growth of women did not exceed 1.5 m. the Average life expectancy for men — 35 years, women — 33,5 years.

Finds from khirokitia are not the last part of the collection of the Cyprus Museum.

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