Stone and the built landscape on Roman Cyprus: case studies of Kourion and Amathus
The study of stone and built landscape in Roman cities is an emerging field which is currently expanding through the surge of new interest. Cyprus is one of the regions of the eastern Mediterranean that has been completely overlooked from this perspective until now. The reason for this lies in the issues related to the study of Roman buildings on Cyprus. Primarily, the relative low state of preservation of the buildings themselves as well as the fact that the cities have not been completely excavated, and they have not always followed systematic methods. Therefore, for the purpose of the study of the built landscape the selection of two cities with surviving Roman building evidence was necessary. The two medium-sized Roman cities of Kourion and Amathous, on the south coast of the island, have been subsequently considered. Different from the majority of studies which focused on single structures or well-preserved remains, here the entire landscape of public buildings is analysed in order to explore differences in masonry styles, stone requirements based on the different structures as well as the human labour involved in their construction. The methodology used to achieve the understanding of the stone landscape at Kourion and Amathous combines different approaches such as site-based survey, geological assessment, architectural analysis and energetics. Through the application of these methods it will be possible to evaluate where the primary stone material was sourced from, how this was manufactured, in which context and masonry type it was used, finally revealing the decision-making of the agents involved. The specific use of architectural energetics in relation to the surviving structures will enable the identification of the building processes and the labour invested in them by the two urban communities. This analysis is discussed in six chapters. The first one is an overview of the general and more specific studies applied to Roman architecture, stone use and architectural energetics. In Chapters 2 and 3 a geological assessment combined with an analysis of the stone exploitation is followed by a discussion of the public buildings surveyed and a description of their main walls, floors and architectural elements investigated at the two sites. Chapter 4 discusses what the data presented in the previous chapters reveal about stone-use and distribution at the two sites. Chapter 5 subsequently shows how architectural energetics can be used for the understanding of the building processes and the wider workforce invested in the creation of the built landscape. The final chapter brings all the several topics discussed in the course of the thesis together with specific attention to emerging patterns and comparisons with other case studies. This multiple approach shows that trends in the utilisation of stone and building techniques existed at Kourion and Amathous. Moreover, the application of the architectural energetics to the masonry structures of the building contexts investigated, outlines the level of investment, in terms of labour costs, in the construction of public buildings. As consequence, we can assess the level of stone consumption, labour organisation and the socio-economic impact of building projects from these two Cypriot cities. The success of the methodology applied to the building of Kourion and Amathous demonstrates that the same approach could serve as a model for future analysis of other Cypriot cities and beyond.