PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201693109
First wave of cultivators spread to Cyprus at least 10,600 y ago
Jean-Denis Vigne et al.
Early Neolithic sedentary villagers started cultivating wild cereals in the Near East 11,500 y ago [Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA)]. Recent discoveries indicated that Cyprus was frequented by Late PPNA people, but the earliest evidence until now for both the use of cereals and Neolithic villages on the island dates to 10,400 y ago. Here we present the recent archaeological excavation at Klimonas, which demonstrates that established villagers were living on Cyprus between 11,100 and 10,600 y ago. Villagers had stone artifacts and buildings (including a remarkable 10-m diameter communal building) that were similar to those found on Late PPNA sites on the mainland. Cereals were introduced from the Levant, and meat was obtained by hunting the only ungulate living on the island, a small indigenous Cypriot wild boar. Cats and small domestic dogs were brought from the mainland. This colonization suggests well-developed maritime capabilities by the PPNA period, but also that migration from the mainland may have occurred shortly after the beginning of agriculture.