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Cyprus’s Copper Deposits Created One Of The Most Important Trade Hubs Of The Bronze Age

Conny Waters – – Excavations led by researchers from the University of Gothenburg present that the coveted steel copper and a sheltered location turned the Cypriot village of Hala Sultan Tekke into one of the crucial necessary commerce hubs of the Late Bronze Age.

Imported goods from Sardinia (1), Italy (2), Crete (3), Greece (4), Türkiye (5), Israel (6), Egypt (7), Iraq (8), necklace with beads and a scarab (Ramesses II) from Egypt, Afghanistan and India (9) have all been found in Hala Sultan Tekke. Credit: University of Gothenburg

Imported items from Sardinia (1), Italy (2), Crete (3), Greece (4), Türkiye (5), Israel (6), Egypt (7), Iraq (8), necklace with beads and a scarab (Ramesses II) from Egypt, Afghanistan and India (9) have all been present in Hala Sultan Tekke. Credit: University of Gothenburg

The researchers’ examine printed within the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports confirms the significance of the Bronze Age metropolis within the first interval of worldwide commerce within the Mediterranean.

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

The Swedish Cyprus Expedition is a analysis venture that started in 1927 to map the island’s archaeological historical past. The most up-to-date 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 town coated no less than 25 hectares, 14 of which comprised its heart, surrounded by a metropolis wall. The Expedition has additionally discovered objects from this era scattered over an excellent 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 an enormous metropolis by that interval’s requirements. Usually, settlements right now and on this space coated only some hectares,” says Peter Fischer.

Largest copper producer

During the Bronze Age, Cyprus was the most important copper producer across the Mediterranean. This steel alloyed with tin shaped the premise for making bronze which was then used for casting instruments, weapons and jewellery earlier than iron began getting used.

Utgrävningar i Hala Sultan Tekke med två stadskvarter i förgrunden, hamnen till vänster och Medelhavet i bakgrunden. Utgrävningsledare Peter Fischer vid ett förrådsrum.

Excavations in Hala Sultan Tekke with two metropolis quarters within the foreground, the port on the left and the Mediterranean Sea within the background. Excavation chief Peter Fischer at a storage room. Image credit score: University of Gothenburg, Sweden

“Remains within the metropolis present intensive copper manufacturing within the type of smelting furnaces, forged molds and slag. The ore from which the copper was extracted was introduced into town from mines within the close by Troodos Mountains. The workshops produced numerous soot and had been positioned within the north of town in order that the winds primarily from the south would blow the soot and the stench away from town. Today, this kind of manufacturing could be unattainable, because the manufacturing course of generates waste merchandise reminiscent of arsenic, lead and cadmium, however at the moment folks didn’t understand how harmful the method was,” says Peter Fischer.

Large portions of imported items

The central location of Cyprus within the jap Mediterranean and a well-protected harbor created extraordinarily favorable situations for energetic commerce in Hala Sultan Tekke. Large portions of imported items within the type of pottery, jewellery and different luxurious items from neighboring areas reminiscent of 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 town was one of many largest commerce hubs within the interval 1500–1150 BC and was of nice significance throughout the preliminary interval of worldwide commerce within the space.

In addition to copper, extremely sought-after purple-dyed textiles had 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 crops. The researchers discuss with the artist behind these painted motifs because the “Hala Sultan Tekke painter.”

“The beauty of the numerous pottery finds is that we are able to help our colleagues across the Mediterranean and past. No pottery has the identical unfold because the coveted Cypriot pottery throughout this era.

Copper slag from one of the city’s workshops.

Copper slag from one of many metropolis’s workshops. Image credit score: University of Gothenburg, Sweden

By discovering domestically made pottery that we are able to date in the identical layer as different imported pottery that was beforehand tough thus far, we are able to synchronize these and assist colleagues date their finds,” says Peter Fischer.

Trade flourished for 500 years

The title of the Bronze Age metropolis comes from the expedition having initially named the location after the mosque, Hala Sultan Tekke, which now stands near the excavation website. Trade flourished within the metropolis for nearly 500 years, however like a number of different subtle Bronze Age civilizations across 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 civilizations to an finish.

“In the previous, it was thought that the ‘Sea Peoples’ had been the only real rationalization. Our analysis in recent times has given extra nuance to this rationalization. For instance, there are actually 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 within the local weather was a contributing issue. All of this may increasingly have had a domino impact, that folks looking for higher residing situations moved from the central Mediterranean in the direction of the southeast, thus coming into battle with the cultures in modern-day Greece, on Cyprus and in Egypt,” concludes Peter Fischer.


Written by Conny Waters – Staff Writer


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