Important finds at Late Bronze Age Cypriot site

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A LARGE building dating as far back as 1200 BC and a female goddess figurine were only some of the fascinating finds following five-week long excavations at the Late Bronze harbour city of Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca. 

Inside the 30 by 20m building were both living and working spaces containing spindle whorls and loom weights, which indicate the production of textiles, as well as a plethora of high-quality pottery imported mainly from the Mycenaean world. Jugs, bowls and jars were among the pottery uncovered. 

“It’s evidence of the tight contact with the Greek mainland,” said Professor Peter M. Fischer of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, who headed the excavations, referring to the contents of the building. 

The excavations took place from April to May. 

The Mycenaean civilisation dates from 1600 to 1100 B.C, during the late Bronze Age in Greece and the Greek archipelago. 

“The pottery is Mycenaean therefore imported,” Fischer confirmed stressing that its importance lies in the fact that it is not locally made but was very popular in Cyprus at the time. 

According to Fischer some of the findings were imported from Egypt. This was made clear in some of the findings as they were seen to have Egyptian traits. 

Questions have been raised as to the origins of some other important findings such as a figurine of a female goddess. “I guess it was produced in Cyprus, we’re not sure though due to its Egyptian traits,” said Fischer adding that it was used as a pendant. 

Another significant find was a haematite cylinder seal which Fischer is convinced is Cypriot as another one was found at Kition. “These are used as a kind of stamp and can be put in dye to make a print and it is also a kind of identity card for a person,” said Fischer. 

The assemblage also includes locally produced hand-made White Slip bowls and jugs which were exported to Egypt and Greece among other nearby areas, which Fischer explained they were so skilled at hand-making looked wheel made. White Slip is a type of pottery decorated with bright colours and patterns. 

The Late Bronze Age harbour city is one of the biggest in Cyprus at 25 hectares, according to Fischer, dating between the 12th and 13th centuries BC.  There were also three occupational layers, meaning that the city was destroyed twice, however the foundations of the city go even further back. 

Fischer said that he would like to come back as he would be interested in digging further down to see when the city was founded. 

Meanwhile, archaeological excavations at the Bronze Age site of Politiko-Troullia uncovered a 40cm stone plank figure, which is female. Its highly abstract form is typical of Cypriot plank figurines, which are normally ceramic and much smaller. The deposits reach up to 4m below the modern surface, making this one of the most deeply stratified sites on the island. 

Author: Natalie Hami | Source: Cyprus Mail [August 05, 2011]

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