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Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

ARTICLES | 2012

26 October 2012

Beyond copper: commodities and values in Middle Bronze Cypro-Levantine exchanges

Lindy Crewe Oxford Journal of Archaeology 31:3 (August 2012): 225-243.

Abstract

During the transition from the Middle to Late Bronze Age, Cyprus became a full participant in the Levantine maritime interaction sphere. This is reflected in the archaeological record by a dramatic increase in the Cypriot pottery found in the surrounding region, widely assumed to be the by-product of an (archaeologically invisible) external demand for Cypriot copper. On the receiving end of this relationship, small numbers of imported ‘luxury’ goods appear on Cyprus. This paper discusses one aspect of exchange that has received little attention in the literature, the presence and significance of quantities of imported transport amphorae (Canaanite jars). These vessels have only rarely been recognized from excavations on Cyprus but recent examination of material from several sites reveals that they are more common than previously assumed. The Canaanite jar evidence may go some way towards redressing the apparent imbalance in goods exchanged and also to illuminate the processes through which Cypriot populations first engaged with the materiality of urban ways of ordering the world.

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