On the scenic north-east coastal road towards the Karpas Peninsula from Kyrenia, after a 35-minute drive you will come to a village called Akanthou (Tatlisu, in Turkish meaning sweet water).
The village is tucked away in the mountains, not visible to passing travellers from the main road. The village was purposely built hidden in the mountains because of the threat from pirate attacks throughout the Middle Ages.
An archaeological survey conducted in 1996 showed that Tatlısu is the first and only known settlement in North Cyprus with evidence of Cypriot-Anatolian connections that existed from the 9th millennium BC. Among the artefacts discovered are 4,000 obsidian tools originating from Anatolia. The artefacts reflect early Neolithic agricultural society, its economy and environment.
Seven houses are excavated at Tatlısu and have stone foundations supporting mud-brick walls, rendered in plaster painted red. One of these houses, 10,000 years old (from 8,200 BC) was reconstructed next to the excavations. The house is used to explain all the prehistoric, environment, animals and daily life of the people who may have lived at that time. The reconstruction is easier to interpret, in contrast to the excavation where a few stones and eroded mud brick is not an attraction and it is hard to explain to the public.
The plan is to reconstruct more houses which have various techniques of building, both from the site of Tatlısu and other Neolithic sites in the area. If all goes as envisaged, this will be a "village with a life and smell” including actors showing Neolithic techniques like flint knapping, tanning and basket making.
Text & photo source: Prof. Müge Sevketoglu