-Geology and archaeology are bound by a time-concept and the evolution of the natural and cultural environment, i.e. the development of environmental systems. These systems are dynamic in time and space, which is established by the interaction between culture and nature, explicitly they are the result of continuous contact between men and environment. Consequently, understanding an ecological system implies that men and environment have to be studied as integrated parts. To interpret the causes, meanings and nature of changes in an environmental system, we have to make an estimation of the flexibility and adaptability of the ecological system. This can be studied by geoarchaeology, because the dynamics of human behaviour in an ecological system can take place at the level of a house unit, a settlement, a city or a society. This project will enable us to understand how men in the past has coped with stress on the sustainability of his environment (cf. original application file Tainter 1988; Diamond 2005; Hornborg & Crumley 2007). Basically, the relation between palaeoenvironment and human societies on different levels (i.e. family, settlement, city, society) is studied in the southeast of Cyprus. According to archaeological research, this region developed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1600 B.C.). In this period, there is a substantial increase in the number of settlements. In the subsequent period, the Late Bronze Age, these settlements grow to important sites with many international contacts. At the end of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1100 B.C.), the Larnaca area regressed; except for Kition nearly all settlements were abandoned. The HOA- project aims to examine the underlying dynamics for the changed interaction between men and palaeoenvironment in this area from 1600 to 1100 B.C. There is a strong emphasis on using geochemistry and isotopic ratios to trace the origin and transport pathways of ancient pottery (cfr. infra).
To reconstruct the environmental system in this area, the project aims at integrating the archaeological, palaeogeographical and provenance study data obtained from own observations and literature (fig. 1). Prof. Karin Nys and Prof. Philippe Claeys are directing the HOA-project. Initially, two researchers were appointed, one archaeologist and one geologist. Drs Jan Coenaerts is responsible to reconstruct the settlement history of the archaeological sites in southeast Cyprus, while dra Virginie Renson is concentrating her research on the geochemical aspects of the provenance study and the climate. In 2008, Dr Vanessa Heyvaert is included in the project to investigate the palaeogeography. Also Dra. Melissa Samaes has joined the archaeological part of the team to concentrate on the two major archaeological sites within in the research area (Hala Sultan Tekke and Kition), which need a more close investigation.