Brock University, Academic South Block, Room 215
University Road West
St. Catarines, ON L2S 3A1
Event includes reception and show-and-tell of the artifacts from the Brock University collection of Cypriot antiquities lead by Dr. Ellen Herscher.
Despite its strategic location in the northeastern Mediterranean – only fifty miles from Anatolia
and sixty miles from the Syro-Palestinian coast – Cyprus remained isolated during its earliest
history. The Early and Middle Bronze Age cultures of the island were characterized by their
conservative economies and their highly original local ceramic traditions. The simple life of
agricultural villages persisted, and new inventions, such as the potter’s wheel, were resisted.
In contrast, the Late Cypriot Bronze Age was a time of urbanized internationalism, as known
from excavations at the great harbor towns of Enkomi and Kition. Imports and exports became
plentiful, and Cyprus’s metallurgical and ceramic industries were supplying quantities of
products for far-flung customers throughout the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean, and even
farther west. Cyprus, as the land of “Alashiya,” occurs in royal texts from Amarna and other
Near Eastern archives. Cyprus too developed its own writing system, and the world-famous
sanctuary of Aphrodite was established near the birthplace of the goddess at Paphos.
Thus the beginning of the Late Bronze Age in Cyprus is a time of revolutionary and profound
change, one of the major turning points in its history. Archaeologically, however, the actual
MB/LB transition has been poorly known, since remains of the period were generally destroyed
under the extensive monumental building that followed. One exception is the site of Maroni, on
the southeastern coast, which has been excavated since 1982. Here tombs, substantial
architecture, and an underwater deposit provide important evidence for the nature of the changes
occurring at the beginning of the LBA. It is clear that Maroni was founded in order to establish a
new way of life on the island, one that encompassed complex social organization, extensive
trading contacts, and incipient literacy, and would quickly make Cyprus an integral part of the
highly developed cosmopolitanism of the time.