Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


19 June 2015

The social world of Early-Middle Bronze Age Cyprus: Rethinking the Vounous bowl

Louise Steel Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 26.1 (2013), 27-50


The Vounous Bowl occupies a privileged position in discussions of prehistoric representations on Cyprus. It has most commonly been viewed as a sacred scene, or a religious ceremony conducted within a rural sanctuary, and several commentators have emphasized the funerary connotations of the scene, perhaps depicting idealized funerary ritual or an ancestor cult. Somewhat mundane interpretations of the bowl place it within a range of genre scenes, portraying daily life in a Bronze Age village. More recently it has been interpreted as the physical expression of emergent elite authority on Cyprus during the Bronze Age. This study explores the object as a form of social communication: through a detailed structural analysis of the Vounous Bowl it aims to develop a clearer understanding of the social world of Early-Middle Bronze Age Cyprus.


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