Although archaeological evidence has provided a relatively clear picture of when the island of Cyprus was inhabited, there is still considerable debate as to where these inhabitants originated from, as well as the routes they most likely followed to reach the island. Based purely on similarities of the material record, e.g. architecture, lithic technology, fauna, between Cyprus and its surrounding mainland, research has suggested Anatolia and/or the Near East as the original homelands of the first Cypriot settlers. To support archaeological inquiry and inference regarding prehistoric seagoing to/from Cyprus, this project seeks to employ simulation-based algorithms for modelling drift-induced as well as directed sea-borne movements, based on data and assumptions about prevailing paleo-environmental conditions and vessel characteristics.

The simulation approach will be employed in a scenario-building context to support hypothesis testing and archaeological interpretation regarding prehistoric maritime travel from/to Cyprus: It will be used to delineate probable sea routes, estimate the degree of connectivity between locations on Cyprus’s coastline and locations on its neighboring mainlands, and identify areas on both coastlines where landing/departure might be most favorable. When contextualised with the archaeological record, the simulation results will be used to inform answers regarding the origin of Cyprus’s first inhabitants, the technological and possibly cognitive abilities related to successful seagoing, as well as the emergent preferred sea routes.

By promoting multidisciplinary research and excellence, project SaRoCy aims to shed light on, and promote aspects of, Cyprus’s prehistoric cultural heritage, particularly its maritime component. Overall, the results of the project are expected to generate radically new knowledge and new technology in support of prehistoric Mediterranean maritime archaeology.