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Cyprus’s copper deposits created one of the most important trade hubs in the Bronze Age — ScienceDaily

The coveted metallic copper and a sheltered location turned the Cypriot village of Hala Sultan Tekke into one of the most important trade hubs of the Late Bronze Age. This has been proven by excavations led by researchers from the University of Gothenburg. Their research revealed in the Journal of Archaeological Science confirms the significance of the Bronze Age metropolis in the first interval of worldwide trade in the Mediterranean.

“We have discovered enormous portions of imported pottery in Hala Sultan Tekke, but additionally luxurious items made of gold, silver, ivory and semi-precious gems which present that the metropolis’s manufacturing of copper was a buying and selling commodity in excessive demand,” says Peter Fischer, emeritus professor at the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Gothenburg and the chief of the excavations.

The Swedish Cyprus Expedition is a analysis undertaking that started in 1927 to map the island’s archaeological historical past. The most latest expedition led by Peter Fischer at Hala Sultan Tekke, close to the modern-day metropolis of Larnaca on the south coast of Cyprus, began in 2010 and has continued for 13 seasons. The excavations have proven that the metropolis coated not less than 25 hectares, 14 of which comprised its centre, surrounded by a metropolis wall. The Expedition has additionally discovered objects from this era scattered over a good bigger space.

“Our investigations and excavations present that Hala Sultan Tekke was bigger than was beforehand thought, overlaying an space of some 25 to 50 hectares, which is a giant metropolis by that interval’s requirements. Usually, settlements right now and in this space coated just a few hectares,” says Peter Fischer.

During the Bronze Age, Cyprus was the largest copper producer round the Mediterranean. This metallic alloyed with tin fashioned the foundation for making bronze which was then used for casting instruments, weapons and jewelry earlier than iron began getting used.

“Remains in the metropolis present in depth copper manufacturing in the type of smelting furnaces, solid moulds and slag. The ore from which the copper was extracted was introduced into the metropolis from mines in the close by Troodos Mountains. The workshops produced quite a bit of soot and have been positioned in the north of the metropolis in order that the winds primarily from the south would blow the soot and the stench away from the metropolis. Today, this kind of manufacturing could be unattainable, since the manufacturing course of generates waste merchandise comparable to arsenic, lead and cadmium, however at the moment folks didn’t know the way harmful the course of was,” says Peter Fischer.

Large portions of imported items

The central location of Cyprus in the jap Mediterranean and a well-protected harbour created very beneficial situations for vigorous trade in Hala Sultan Tekke. Large portions of imported items in the type of pottery, jewelry and different luxurious items from neighbouring areas comparable to modern-day Greece, Türkiye, the Middle East and Egypt, in addition to longer-distance imports from Sardinia, the Baltic Sea area, Afghanistan and India have been discovered. These finds present that the metropolis was one of the largest trade hubs in the interval 1500-1150 BC and was of nice significance throughout the preliminary interval of worldwide trade in the space.

In addition to copper, extremely sought-after purple-dyed textiles have been additionally produced. The dye got here from purple dye murex species from which the mucus that produced the purple dye was extracted. The metropolis additionally produced and exported pottery with attribute painted motifs of people, animals and vegetation. The researchers seek advice from the artist behind these painted motifs as the ‘Hala Sultan Tekke painter’.

“The beauty of the many pottery finds is that we will help our colleagues round the Mediterranean and past. No pottery has the similar unfold as the coveted Cypriot pottery throughout this era. By discovering domestically made pottery that we will date in the similar layer as different imported pottery that was beforehand troublesome to this point, we will synchronise these and assist colleagues date their finds,” says Peter Fischer.

The title of the Bronze Age metropolis comes from the expedition having initially named the web site after the mosque, Hala Sultan Tekke, which now stands near the excavation web site. Trade flourished in the metropolis for nearly 500 years, however like a number of different refined Bronze Age civilisations round the Mediterranean, Hala Sultan Tekke collapsed simply after 1200 BC. The prevailing speculation was that the ‘Sea Peoples’ invaded the jap Mediterranean round this time, destroying its cities and bringing the Bronze Age civilisations to an finish.

“In the previous, it was thought that the ‘Sea Peoples’ have been the sole clarification. Our analysis in latest years has given extra nuance to this clarification. For instance, there at the moment are new interpretations of written sources from this era in Anatolia (modern-day Türkiye), Syria and Egypt, which inform of epidemics, famine, revolutions and acts of warfare by invading peoples. In addition, our investigations point out {that a} deterioration in the local weather was a contributing issue. All of this will have had a domino impact, that individuals in search of higher residing situations moved from the central Mediterranean in direction of the south-east, thus coming into battle with the cultures in modern-day Greece, on Cyprus and in Egypt,” concludes Peter Fischer.

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