Janes – Material Connections2
This paper takes as its subject the island of Cyprus from the end of the Late Bronze Age to theEarly Iron Age (1100-700 BC), a period of great upheaval, transition and increased mobilityfollowing the collapse of the large, regional palatial societies across the Mediterranean. Buildingon previous research, this study considers issues of insularity, connectivity and identity,focusing on the multiple internal and external interactions and encounters on the island at thattime. Through the examination of the complex, yet extensive extant mortuary remains, I explorethe materiality of social and cultural interaction on the island, considering how people of diversecultures and backgrounds interacted on the island through multiple connections – includingmaritime interactions, migrations, colonial encounters and intra-island contact. I then discusshow these interactions combined to contribute to the emergence of small, local, hybridised polities involving native Cypriots and incoming people from the Aegean and Levant.
Cyprus has long been seen as a ‘crossroads’ of multiple, complex interactions, acting as astepping-stone between east and west. Accordingly, the island has played a central role instudies of trade and exchange — long-distance and local, entrepreneurial and centralised — andof the movement and transfer of ideas, material culture and traditions across the Mediterranean.It is unsurprising, therefore, that Cyprus was deeply affected by the upheavals at the end of the13th century BC, when the major states of the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean, includingMycenaean palatial systems and Levantine centres such as Ras Ibn Hani and Ugarit, seem tohave undergone a major social and economic collapse (Iacovou 1998: 334-35; 1999b: 4-5; 2001:86; 2006a: 33-35; Karageorghis 1987: 117; 1992: 81; Rupp 1987: 147), leaving theMediterranean effectively free from outside interference by other states from the 12th-8thcenturies BC (Iacovou 1999a: 141-42; 2002: 84; 2005b: 21; 2006a: 33-34; Mazar 1994: 39). Theimpact of these Mediterranean-wide upheavals on Cyprus is reflected in the archaeologicalrecord by a series of abandonments and destructions at several Late Bronze Age sites across theisland. The disruption to the island, however, was relatively short-lived and old urban and statestructures seem to have been replaced rather soon by the emergence of a new socio-politicallandscape – the Archaic City-Kingdoms (Iacovou 1999a: 145-46; 2005b: 20-21).Despite the upheavals of the 13th century BC, the complex cultural mix that constitutedLate Bronze Age Cyprus continued to diversify throughout the Iron Age, facilitated by increasedMediterranean-wide mobility and movements. New and established connections, both withinand beyond the island, significantly impacted on its socio-political trajectory. The emerging