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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations - Statue of Aphrodite

Cyprus Opens to the World

Pair of gold earrings in shape of bucrania

Pair of gold earrings in shape of bucrania
1550 - 1050 BC

The Late Bronze Age was a period of great prosperity for Cyprus, and it was a major supplier of copper, an essential component of bronze. Trade networks linked Cyprus to Egypt, the Hittite Empire of central Anatolia, the Kingdom of Ugarit on the Syrian coast, and the Mycenaeans of southern Greece.

As a center of trade, Cyprus became more cosmopolitan. Older harbor towns flourished, while new cities with magnificent buildings sprang up inland. This busy mercantile period also saw the first use of written language on Cyprus, with a linear script similar to that used in Crete.

But this time of peace and prosperity ended in collapse. Although a combination of factors played a part, a major contributor may have been the Sea Peoples, a mysterious group credited with destroying Late Bronze Age cities across the Eastern Mediterranean. Demand for copper plunged, ending the era’s prosperity. Refugees from Greece settled on Cyprus, contributing to the ethnic heritage of present-day Cypriots.

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Monumental Architecture
Cypro-Minoan Script
Ceramics and Trade
Ritual Figures and the Afterlife
Copper and Bronze

 

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