Aetokremnos is a rock shelter near Limassol
Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus, with a population of 228,000 . It is the largest city in geographical size, and the biggest municipality on the island. The city is located on Akrotiri Bay, on the island's southern coast and it is the capital of Limassol District.Limassol is the...

 on the southern coast of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. It is situated on a steep cliff site ca. 40m above the Mediterranean. The name means "Cliff of the eagles" in Greek.
Ca. 40 m2 have been excavated. Of the four layers found, No. 3 is sterile.
The site contains both bones of the late Holocene
The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

 dwarf fauna, pygmy elephants
Dwarf elephant
Dwarf elephants are prehistoric members of the order Proboscidea, that, through the process of allopatric speciation, evolved to a fraction of the size of their immediate ancestors...

 (Elephas cypriotes) and the Cyprus Dwarf Hippopotamus
Cyprus Dwarf Hippopotamus
The Cyprus Dwarf Hippopotamus or Cypriot Pygmy Hippopotamus is an extinct species of hippopotamus that inhabited the island of Cyprus until the early Holocene....

 (Hippopotamus minor) and artifacts
Artifact (archaeology)
An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...

 (ca. 1.000 flints including thumbnail scrapers of Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 type). There are no bones with marks of butchery, but an unusually high frequency of burned bones (30%). The pygmy hippos make up ca. 74% of the bones, followed by fish remains (25%) and birds, mainly bustard
Bustards, including floricans and korhaans, are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World...

s. Dwarf elephants are comparatively rare (3 individuals). The presence of fallow deer
Fallow Deer
The Fallow Deer is a ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. This common species is native to western Eurasia, but has been introduced widely elsewhere. It often includes the rarer Persian Fallow Deer as a subspecies , while others treat it as an entirely different species The Fallow...

 (4 bones) and pig (13 bones) is puzzling, since these animals are thought to have been introduced only in the PPNB
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region....


According to the excavators, hearth
In common historic and modern usage, a hearth is a brick- or stone-lined fireplace or oven often used for cooking and/or heating. For centuries, the hearth was considered an integral part of a home, often its central or most important feature...

 remains are found in the layer containing the bone beds of the extinct megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

. This would make it the oldest Cypriot settlement and attest settlement already in the Epipalaeolithic. 31 radiocarbon dates
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

with a high internal consistency put the date of the bones at ca. 10.500 BC cal. and make it a short-term occupation.

There are other deposits with bones of pygmy elephants and hippopotami on the island, but these do not contain artifacts.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.