Evidence of production of luxury textiles and extraction of copper from unknown part of Cypriote Bronze Age city

Sep 03, 2013 by Thomas Melin
The new district (photo taken from a helicopter). On the left the part that was excavated 2010-12 and in the middle the part which was discovered in 2013. Credit: Andreas Ioannou, Police Aviation Unit, Larnaka

A Swedish archaeological expedition from the University of Gothenburg has excavated a previously unknown part of the Bronze Age city Hala Sultan Tekke (around 1600–1100 BC). The finds include a facility for extraction of copper and production of bronze objects, evidence of production of luxurious textiles, as well as ceramics and other objects imported from all over the Mediterranean but also from central Europe.

'One of our conclusions is that the Bronze Age culture in Hala Sultan Tekke played a central role in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus served as an important node not only for regional but also for more long-distance trade. We have also realized that the city was larger than previously thought,' says Peter Fischer, professor of Cypriote archaeology at the University of Gothenburg.

Hala Sultan Tekke is located near the Larnaca airport on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and spans approximately 25-50 hectares, making it one of the largest Bronze Age cities in the Mediterranean region. In 2010, Peter Fischer and his team of archaeologists and students continued the excavations of the city that were initiated in the 1970s by Fischer's former teacher, professor Paul Åström.

The recently excavated part of the city was discovered in 2012 using a ground penetrating radar, which is an electromagnetic equipment that makes it possible to 'see' what's hidden in the ground down to a depth of about two metres. The method also enables archaeologists to get a tomographic image of a limited area under the surface.

'This summer we discovered a residential area with facilities for extraction of copper from copper ore and copper slag. We found remains of melting furnaces and about 300 kilos of ore and slag. In a room nearby, we also found evidence of production of purple textiles, which were among the most valuable commodities during the Bronze Age.'

Next to the extraction facility, the archaeologists exposed living quarters where they also found many interesting objects, such as locally produced ceramics of high quality and ceramics from Mycenae (in present-day Greece) and the Levant (the Eastern Mediterranean countries).

The finds also include a complete decorated bronze brooch, probably imported from northern Italy or central Europe around 1200 BC, a decorated faience bowl from Egypt, faience cylinder seals depicting warriors and hunters and figurines of people/gods and animals. All finds can be dated to the period 1400-1175 BC.

'The finds underscore the mobility of Bronze Age people far beyond their immediate surroundings. Their connections with Greece, Turkey, Egypt and the Levant may not come as a surprise, but those with Italy and central and northern Europe are very exciting. These finds lend strength to the hypothesis about major migration taking place around 1200 BC, the so-called Sea Peoples. Recent analyses of Swedish bronze objects from this period, led by Johan Ling, reader (docent) at the University of Gothenburg, suggest that bronze was imported from Cyprus,' says Fischer.

Explore further: Changing climate may have driven collapse of civilizations in Late Bronze Age

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Archaeology uncovers amazing finds in West Sussex

Jul 19, 2013

Bronze Age settlements and Neolithic pottery are some of the finds made by UCL archaeologists during the construction of major new sea defences inland at Medmerry between Selsey and Bracklesham in West Sussex.

Dating the Bronze Age

Dec 02, 2009

ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) research has shown that an area of desert in north-western China was once a thriving Bronze Age manufacturing and agricultural site. The new findings ...

Recommended for you

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

7 hours ago

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

Apr 17, 2014

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.