The Cypriot settlement dataset was collected as part of the project ‘EIDOS of a City: simulating the collapse and resilience of ancient Eastern Mediterranean urban environments via agent-based modelling’ and represents the first open access database of settlements across a broad timespan for Cyprus. This project aims to identify specific variables that contribute to urban collapse or continuity across a large timescale within the regions of Cyprus and the Northern and Southern Levant. The Cypriot periods of interest span from the Late Epipalaeolithic (11000 BCE) to the Ottoman period (1878 CE). Figure 1 shows the spatial distribution of settlements and survey area boundaries used within the dataset. Each point represents a settlement location dated to a relative chronological period.
Geographic Coordinate System: World Geodetic System (WGS) 1984.
Datum: World Geodetic System (WGS) 1984.
Northern boundary: 32.918699 35.403266
Southern boundary: 33.033250 34.563851
Eastern boundary: 34.595651 35.699972
Western boundary: 32.267073 35.044590
11000 BCE to 1878 CE, from the Cypriot Late Epipalaeolithic to the Cypriot Ottoman period.
Within this dataset, settlements are broadly defined as well-defined places of human occupation , and are predominantly identified by pottery fragments or architectural features during archaeological surveys.
Settlement data were collected from published works, focusing on large-scale Cypriot surveys. A list of surveys and publications included within the dataset can be found in sources.txt. For a survey to be included within the dataset the following criteria were required: spatial coordinates or maps capable of being geo-referenced, the inclusion of site names or unique site identifiers, details on periods of occupation, and the inclusion of sites with multi-phase occupations when possible. Select well-known settlements were also included in the dataset. In these instances, settlements were either not included in surveys due to their spatial location being outside a survey area’s limits, or their time period being outside a particular survey’s foci. Sites used for only temporary occupation, such as mining camps, locations of raw material sources, and caves were not included in the present dataset.
The following relative chronological periods and absolute dates were used for all sites (Table 1). Absolute dates for Cypriot period chronology are still under re-evaluation by scholars, especially as a more detailed chronological resolution is gained from methods such as radiocarbon dating of sites [2, 3]. The periods and dates used in this dataset are based on both Knapp  and the Department of Antiquities . Many of the surveys used slightly different variations of Cyprus’ chronological periods, in these instances periods and absolute dates were recorded following the chronological scheme detailed below (Table 1).
|PERIOD||PERIOD ABBREVIATION||ABSOLUTE DATE|
|Late epipalaeolithic||EPI||11000–9000 BC|
|Initial Aceramic Neolithic||IAN||9000–8500 BC|
|Early Aceramic Neolithic 1||AEN 1||8500–7900 BC|
|Early Aceramic Neolithic 2||AEN 2||7900–7600 BC|
|Early Aceramic Neolithic 3||AEN 3||7600–6800 BC|
|Late Aceramic Neolithic||LAN||6800–5500 BC|
|Ceramic Neolithic||CN||5500–3900 BC|
|Early Chalcolithic||Ech||3900–3400 BC|
|Middle Chalcolithic||MCh||3400–2750 BC|
|Late Chalcolithic||LCh||2750–2500 BC|
|Philia phase||PP||2500–2350 BC|
|Early Cypriot I||EC I||2350–2200 BC|
|Early Cypriot II||EC II||2200–2100 BC|
|Early Cypriot III||EC III||2100–2000 BC|
|Middle Cypriot I||MC I||2000–1850 BC|
|Middle Cypriot II||MC II||1850–1750 BC|
|Middle Cypriot III||MC III||1750–1650 BC|
|Late Cypriot I||LC I||1650–1550 BC|
|Late Cypriot IIA||LC IIA||1550–1450 BC|
|Late Cypriot IIB||LC IIB||1450–1300 BC|
|Late Cypriot IIC||LC IIC||1300–1200 BC|
|Late Cypriot IIIA||LC IIIA||1200–1100 BC|
|Late Cypriot IIIB||LC IIIB||1100–1050 BC|
|Cypro Geometric I||CG I||1050–950 BC|
|Cypro Geometric II||CG II||950–900 BC|
|Cypro Geometric III||CG III||900–750 BC|
|Cypro Archaic I||CA I||750–600 BC|
|Cypro Archaic II||CA II||600–475 BC|
|Cypro Classical I||CC I||475–400 BC|
|Cypro Classical II||CC II||400–312 BC|
|Hellenistic I||Hel I||312–200 BC|
|Hellenistic II||Hel II||200 BC–58 AD|
|Early Roman I||E Rom I||58–50 AD|
|Early Roman II||E Rom II||50–250 AD|
|Late Roman||L Rom||250–400 AD|
|Early Christian||eMed||400–750 AD|
|Byzantine||Byz I||750–965 AD|
|Byzantine||Byz II||965–1191 AD|
The data were collected and digitized in ArcGIS and exported as a csv file. All subsequent data processing occurred in Python, which included providing unique identifiers to each settlement, standardizing periods of occupation, dates, occupation time spans, and determining if a settlement had continuity between phases of occupation.
A total of 1559 settlements were recorded with a total of 8766 occupation phases. We also detailed settlements that had uninterrupted occupation across multiple periods or breaks in occupation followed by re-occupation . 1422 settlements were occupied for more than one archaeological period, while 487 had one or more non-continuous periods of occupation over time.
The dataset was created primarily from existing published surveys. Only settlements that could be geographically located and had chronological information about their occupation periods were included. Several aspects of Cypriot archaeology and surveys need to be addressed which affect the spatial and temporal distribution of settlements recorded within the dataset. Due to the current political situation in Cyprus, the spatial spread of settlements within northern Cyprus is extremely limited. Surveys from this area, which are included within this dataset, predate the 1970s (see ). Concerning the whole island, survey methods and their intensity have also changed over time, affecting the quality of data collection and the information available concerning individual settlements. The collated data were derived from surveys that vary in their intensity, have different objectives in what is recorded, and have varying definitions of what is defined as and recorded as a site.
Only settlements that could be both spatially located and were provided clear chronological periods of occupation are included in the dataset. All settlement entries have been checked and any duplicate sites based on spatial location or toponyms recorded in more than one survey have been merged into one settlement data point, with each settlement receiving a unique ID.
Settlements were recorded as georeferenced points within a GIS. A substantial amount of time was spent digitizing survey maps, including both maps using a clear coordinate system as well as hand-drawn plans showing approximate site locations. To account for location uncertainty due to how some maps were digitized, each settlement has a location quality (LocQual) entry that details the accuracy of a settlement’s spatial location. Due to how surveys have been traditionally conducted in Cyprus, which often focused on only one period of occupation (e.g. Chalcolithic period), settlement size could not be accounted for in this dataset.
Another issue concerns the dating of sites. Some of the surveys concern only recorded settlements existing during specific periods, with no consideration of the existence of occupation occurring before or after a survey’s foci period. Due to time constraints, it was not possible to research individual sites in greater detail. It is hoped that enabling this dataset to be open access will allow future additions to the chronological span of settlements. Another issue that needs to be raised is that early surveys tended to be less precise in dating, and only limited efforts have been undertaken by researchers to reassess period designations based on the pottery record. The current absolute dates are based on pottery chronologies which have a degree of uncertainty that also need to be acknowledged.
An additional constraint concerns settlement toponyms. Most settlements are named following a convention of using nearby village names plus a site toponym . Some surveys use slightly different site naming conventions and may only record locality names. In other instances, minimally published surveys (e.g. ) only provide site name abbreviations. Every effort was made to ensure that duplicate sites with different toponym naming conventions were merged into one settlement record with the name adjusted to follow the standard Cyprus archaeological settlement naming conventions.
(3) Dataset Description
The following dataset has been created following FAIR principles. To ensure the data can continue to be edited and contributed to, it has been published openly via GitHub and linked to Zenodo (for a workflow description see ). This ensures that the dataset has greater visibility and data preservation by being given a DOI. Hosting on GitHub additionally allows for any necessary modifications to be made, such as updates to the chronology of settlements and the addition of additional settlements as new data become available or are digitized from existing site reports.
- Settlements – three separate files, the first consists of a spreadsheet (.csv), the second provides GIS shapefile data (.shp and associated files), and the third is a text file (.txt) with a description of all fields in the first two files.
- Sources – a text file (.txt) recording all published sources recorded in the field ‘sources’ of the two main settlement files.
Primary and secondary data from large-scale surveys and select special-purpose publications (see sources.txt).
Format names and versions
.csv, .shp, .txt
The dataset was created in 2021–2022 as part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship ‘EIDOS of a City: simulating the collapse and resilience of ancient Eastern Mediterranean urban environments via agent-based modelling’. A part of the dataset was created as a part of a postdoctoral fellowship at the Chair “Sylvia Ioannou Foundation” for Digital Humanities at the Archaeological Research Unit, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus.
The researcher responsible for the data entry and management was Katherine A. Crawford. A portion of the settlements were added by Marc-Antoine Vella.
English, toponyms use anglicized Greek.
CC-BY 4.0, Creative Common License.
The dataset is deposited at Zendo (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7271681) and linked to GitHub at (https://github.com/K-A-Crawford/Cyprus_Settlements/tree/v1.0.0).
(4) Reuse Potential
This dataset represents the first large-scale, publicly available dataset of settlements across Cyprus from a broad timespan. It will not only serve as an invaluable dataset for any researchers working on settlements within Cyprus, but it will also serve as a valuable comparative resource to larger studies across the Mediterranean. In particular, it addresses the recent call for greater access to settlement datasets, which can be used for studying topics such as settlement persistence .
The dataset format enables it to be easily integrated with other larger regional datasets, such as the recent data from the Northern Fertile Crescent . It will also be integrated within a more expansive eastern Mediterranean dataset including settlement data from the northern and southern Levant that is currently under development within the EIDOS project.
How the dataset is compiled will additionally enable scholars to adapt it for studying individual periods or geographic locations. Since all settlements are georeferenced, there is considerable potential for future temporal and spatial analyses to be conducted. The broad chronological span of the dataset will additionally enable various time-series analyses.