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Mediterranean Crossroads (Edited by Sophia Antoniadou and Anthony Pace), Pierides Foundation, 2007

Mediterranean Crossroads (Edited by Sophia Antoniadou and Anthony Pace), Pierides Foundation, 2007

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Edited by Sophia Antoniadou and Anthony Pace

Athens Pierides Foundation

© Copyright Pierides Foundation and the authors 2007 ISBN 978-9963-9071-6-8

Front cover image: work by Lia Lapithi. Part of the series “330o nM”, The Ionian Sea. This book is distributed by Oxbow Books, 10 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford OX1 2EW (Phone: 01865-241249; Fax: 01865-794449) and The David Brown Book Company PO Box 511, Oakville, CT 06779, USA (Phone:860-945-9329; Fax: 860-945-9468) and via the website www.oxbowbooks.com

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22. Locating identities in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Αge–Early Iron Age: the case of ‘hellenised’ Cyprus
anastasia leriou abstract This paper arises from the theoretical problems that emerged during a systematic re-assessment of the widely established Mycenaean colonisation (hellenisation) of Cyprus hypothesis. Besides various classificatory inconsistencies and misunderstandings, the main problem seems to be the direct association of ethnic identities with groups of artefacts/material culture. Since the infamous equation between pots (static excavated remains) and peoples (elusive and fluid concept of identity) has been long ago proven methodologically invalid, the present paper investigates alternative ways to employ the archaeological record, so as to identify the cultural groups that constituted the population of Cyprus during the LCIII-CGII period. The new approach is based on conclusions reached by both social anthropologists and archaeologists researching ethnic groups. Its key element lies within the tendency of ethnic groups to use categories of artefacts (emblemic indicia) in a way similar to language and religion in order to underline their boundaries and set themselves apart from the rest of the population, particularly when their collective identity is undermined or threatened. introduction Though still retaining its position as a widely established archaeological narrative (Leriou 2002: 3), the hypothesis that Cyprus was ‘hellenised’



by large numbers of Aegean settlers during the 12th and 11th centuries BC (Iacovou 1999; Karageorghis 1997: 249-85; 2002: 71-141; Leriou 2002: 4-5; Steel 2004: 187-213), has recently been criticised by a steadily increasing number of researchers. Demands to reassess the hypothesis have resulted from the many problems of classification, from contradictions and inconsistencies, and from the acknowledgment that it includes a number of ‘factoids’ (Muhly 1980; Hult 1983: 62, 88-90; Maier 1986; Kling 1984; 1989a; 1989b; 1991; 2000; Sherratt 1991; 1992; 1994; 1998; Pilides 1991; 1992; 1994; Swinton 1996: 16-23; Kieley 1998; Niklasson-Sönnerby 1999; Webb 1999; 2001; Hitchcock 2000a; 2000b; Leriou 2002: 6-7; 2005) – that is to say, historical reconstructions based on the manipulation of data, as well as speculations or misunderstandings that are taken for incontrovertible, historical facts due to their frequent and/or systematic repetition (Maier 1985: 32; Goring 1995: 103). These problems have been attributed to the narrative’s theoretical basis: the now outdated culture historical approach towards the archaeological record, which can be effectively summarised in the infamous equation between pots and peoples (Leriou 2002: 6-7). Consequently, the principal objection is of a theoretical character and lies in the use of certain groups of artefacts, pottery in particular, of Aegean origin and/or inspiration as defining criteria for the presence of a group of Aegean peoples in 12th and 11th century Cyprus (Karageorghis 2000; 2002a: 84113, 119-41). Since the 1950s, however, archaeologists and social anthropologists have demonstrated that it does not really take a Mycenaean to use or even to produce a Mycenaean pot. Excavated remains are fragmentary and static, while the concept of ethnic identity is fluid and particularly elusive. Ethnic and cultural boundaries are socially constructed and, therefore, dynamic, infinitely variable and not always archaeologically tangible. Thus, it is entirely possible for cultural contacts, including processes such as migrations and invasions, to occur with virtually no perceptible change in the material record (Sherratt 1992: 318-35; Hall 1997: 111-42). What follows is an attempt to provide a new, theoretically up-to-date methodological framework for the systematic reconsideration of the ‘hellenisation’ of Cyprus hypothesis. The first section of the discussion includes a brief investigation of the reasons that led researchers around the end of the 19th century to adopt the culture historical approach to-



wards the archaeological record of LBA-EIA Cyprus and the circumstances that contributed to maintaining this approach until the present day, despite the significant developments in archaeological thought during the second half of the 20th century. The second section contains a summary of the recent theoretical trends in the study of ethnicity in the fields of both social anthropology and archaeology, in combination with a proposal for their effective application to the problematic archaeological narrative of the ‘hellenisation’ of Cyprus. the culture historical approach towards the archaeological record of lba-eia Cyprus The current application of the culture historical approach towards the archaeological record of LBA-EIA Cyprus by the majority of archaeologists is related to general developments in European and North-American archaeological thought during the late 19th and 20th centuries as well as to the development of Cypriot archaeology, in particular, during the same period. Moreover, both these factors should be examined in close association with the politics that have regulated the island’s history from the middle of the 19th century to the present day (Hunt 1990: 255-94; Knapp and Antoniadou 1998; Given 1998; Leriou 2002; 2005: 25-92). The roots of culture historical archaeology lie in the development of the European nation state and its corporate identity (ethnic, linguistic and cultural) during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The growing nationalism and emphasis on ethnic identities led European archaeologists to focus on the geographical distribution of distinctive types of artefacts and artefact assemblages (archaeological cultures) in a systematic effort to associate them with prehistoric peoples, who could usually be viewed as the ancestors of modern nations. Consequently, the determination of the geographic distribution of a particular archaeological culture would equal the identification of the area that was occupied by the corresponding population (Renfrew and Bahn 1991: 32, 407). Moreover, the identification of elements of a ‘foreign’ archaeological culture within a specific region would be regarded as evidence for a migration or invasion of the ethnic group associated with the culture (Trigger 1989: 161-86; 1995: 266-70; Sherratt 1992: 316-17; Shennan 1994: 5-11; Diaz-Andreu and Champion 1996; Diaz-Andreu 1996; Jones and Graves-Brown 1996;



Hides 1996; Jones 1997: 15-26; Hall 1997: 128-31; Leriou 2002: 6). Trigger (1995; 269) maintains that: European archaeologists wanted to lengthen the pedigrees of their own national or ethnic groups and to glorify these groups by comparison with neighbouring peoples. Usually this took the form of identifying a particular people with a succession of specific archaeological cultures leading into the remote past and drawing attention to the special achievements of these cultures. Culture historical archaeology was introduced to Cyprus during the last decades of the 19th century, particularly after 1878, when Great Britain undertook the administration of the island. This resulted in the promotion of excavation from legalised treasure hunting to an organised and systematic enterprise and the consequent establishment of Cypriot archaeology as a scientific discipline (Leriou 2002: 10). In 1894 the High Commissioner (the British Governor) asked the British archaeologist John Linton Myres to classify and organise the ever growing collections of antiquities in the Cyprus Museum. The latter had been founded as early as 1883. Myres produced the very first systematic classification of Cypriot antiquities and subsequently reconstructed the island’s history on that basis. Thus both culture historical archaeology and the archaeological narrative of the ‘hellenisation’ colonisation of Cyprus were introduced in the newly established field of Cypriot archaeology (Leriou 2002: 11-12) Besides culture historical archaeology, Myres was deeply affected by the idealisation of ancient Greece, which was a major academic trend among European scholars during the late 19th-early 20th century. The attribution of the foundation of the Iron Age Cypriot kingdoms to the ancient Greeks through the process of colonisation (‘hellenisation’) made the latter look even more impressive and added considerable prestige to the study of Cypriot antiquities. Moreover, it was consonant with the colonial authority’s initial intention to emphasise the close connections between Greece and Cyprus and thus establish a good rapport with the island’s population (Leriou 2002: 9-14). The culture historical approach towards the archaeological record was firmly established around forty years later by Einar Gjerstad and his legendary Swedish Cyprus Expedition, who employed it in order



to classify and interpret the numerous finds from the excavations they conducted throughout the island. Not only did the Swedes confirm the ‘hellenisation’ hypothesis, they also used culture historical archaeology to reconstruct the ‘Eteocypriots’ – the native population who, after the advent of the Aegeans concentrated in an ethnic pocket in the city of Amathus. This development also agreed with the colonial authority’s interest in minimising the connection between Cyprus and the Greek world, as a result of the growing Cypriot nationalism and the increasing demand for ‘enosis’ with Greece (Leriou 2002: 14-16). The culture historical approach towards material culture characterised European and North American archaeological thought until the mid-20th century. Its association with Nazi ideology through Kossina’s nationalistic research on the origins of the German population led to its dismissal by many archaeologists and social anthropologists after World War II (Trigger 1989: 163-67; Jones and Graves-Brown 1996: 2-4; Jones 1997: 2-5; Hall 1997: 1-2, 129). Furthermore, culture historical archaeology was discarded due to the development of processual archaeology, commonly known as New Archaeology, which shifted the discipline’s focus from the description (‘when’ and ‘where’) of ancient cultures and their movements to the explanation (‘how’ and ‘why’) of cultural change (Trigger 1989: 294-312; Renfrew and Bahn 1991: 411-13; Bahn 1996: 67-70). Archaeological theorists have nowadays accepted the ‘practical’ use of archaeological cultures as tools for the comprehension and organisation of the material remains of the past, but they have completely dismissed their equation with historical, political, linguistic or racial entities. This conclusion was reached through numerous anthropological and archaeological studies which have demonstrated that material culture is not necessarily ethnically diagnostic (Shennan 1994: 11-14; Hall 1997: 129-31). Despite these theoretical developments, culture historical archaeology remains the dominant attitude towards ancient material culture in many countries. Peoples, ‘whose past has been neglected or denigrated by a colonial approach towards archaeology and history’ (Trigger 1989: 205) employ culture historical archaeology to promote self-determination, develop a national identity and promote national unity (Trigger 1984: 358-60; 1989: 174-86, 205; 1995: 268-72; Skeates 2000: 90-92; Lyons and Papadopoulos 2002: 2-5). According to Trigger (1989: 174):



the culture-historical approach can be used to bolster the pride and morale of nations or ethnic groups. It is more often used for this purpose among peoples who feel thwarted, threatened, or deprived of their collective rights by more powerful nations or in countries where appeals for national unity are being made to counteract serious internal divisions. On this basis, the systematic use of the culture historical approach by contemporary Cypriot archaeologists is hardly surprising, given the island’s long history of successive occupations and invasions (Knapp and Antoniadou 1998: 19-23). The urge to emphasise their Greek identity, which is evident in the majority of Cypriot archaeologists but particularly obvious in the case of Vassos Karageorghis (Karageorghis 2002b: 31; Leriou 2002: 17-18), should be examined against the background of the Ottoman (1151-1878) and British occupations (1878-1960) and, most importantly, the Turkish invasion (1974-present). These have endowed Cypriot archaeology with a strongly political character. Consequently, subjective interpretation, which is inherent in nationalistic archaeology (Trigger 1995: 273-77; Lyons and Papadopoulos 2002), is one of the major problems of the ‘hellenisation’ narrative. It should be emphasised, nevertheless, that the culture historical approach is also employed by most of the international scholars researching ancient Cyprus. The great impact of Gjerstad’s research and authoritative publications, in combination with general conservatism of Cypriot archaeology, is most probably responsible for the current situation (Rupp 1993: 2-3; 1997: 69-71; Knapp and Antoniadou 1998: 30-32). Post-‘hellenisation’ evaluation versus historical reconstruction The very first step towards the effective reconsideration of the ‘hellenisation’ narrative is shifting the focus of attention from the detailed reconstruction of the ‘historical events’ that supposedly took place during the 12th and the 11th century in Cyprus to the evaluation of the post-‘hellenisation’ archaeological record. This is particularly so as, regardless of the theoretical approach chosen, the relevant archaeological record has been proven too limited and fragmentary to allow historical reconstruction. Its detailed survey showed that the evidence is fragmentary and thus highly inconclusive, while many classes of it require further study. The latter



have either been neglected due to exaggerated emphasis on the Aegean and/or Aegeanising material (for example the local Late Cypriot IIIA wares), or their current classification and chronology are closely related, and sometimes directly dependent upon, the historical events assumed to have occurred in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean after the fall of the Mycenaean palaces (for example the Handmade Burnished ‘Barbarian’ ware, various elements of palatial architecture etc.). Studies similar to Barbara Kling’s reconsideration of the typology, chronology and historical implications of the locally produced Mycenaean IIIC:1b pottery, which is generally considered as the Aegean settlers’ fingerprint in the material culture of the island during the 12th century (Kling 1984; 1989a; 1989b; 1991; 2000), are by all means necessary. Additionally, much further publication work remains to be carried out before any attempt at a new reconstruction of the LCIII-CGI period is undertaken (Leriou 2005: 93-94). Since the conditions that might enable the reconstruction, or more simply the direct verification or rejection of the ‘hellenisation’ narrative do not currently exist, it is preferable to accept the narrative as a working hypothesis and concentrate primarily on the evaluation of its results. Consequently, the arrival of people from the Aegean during the 12th-11th centuries will be provisionally accepted as a series of truly historical events. Further, the question that will be asked is whether the post-‘hellenisation’ material culture of Cyprus reflects the enduring impact of this arrival. In other words, does the post-‘hellenisation’ material culture of Cyprus support the presence of a distinct group of people from the Aegean among the native population? Thus, research should concentrate, at least at the moment, primarily on the identification of the possible ethnic groups which constituted the population of Cyprus during the period in question and, consequently, touch upon the widely discussed but still complicated issue of archaeology’s capacity to contribute to questions of ethnicity in the past. Focusing on the resulting situation instead of the actual process will enable the present discussion to avoid repeating the mistake of equating pots and material culture with peoples, as it allows significantly more space for theoretical experimentation.



ethnic symbols and boundaries On the basis of ethnographic parallels, social anthropology has established that an ethnic group is a social rather than a biological category, characterised by remarkable fluidity and dynamism evidenced mainly in its interaction with other ethnic groups (situational ethnicity). Ethnicity is all about group self-recognition and self-identity, thus involving the notions of construction and choice (Barth 1969; Banks 1996; Renfrew 1998: 275; Malkin 2001: 12-15). Hence Jones’ definitions (1997: xiii): Ethnic group is any group of people who set themselves apart and/or are set apart by others with whom they interact or co-exist on the basis of their perceptions of cultural differentiation and/ or common descent. Ethnic identity is the aspect of a person’s self-conceptualisation which results from identification with a broader group in opposition to others on the basis of perceived cultural differentiation and/ or common descent (italics mine). As ethnic identity is ‘socially constructed and subjectively perceived’ (Hall 1997: 19), the mere presence of characteristics (similarities) of a biological, linguistic, religious and cultural nature does not suffice for ethnic status determination. On the other hand, social anthropologists as well as archaeologists have concluded that such characteristics do indeed play an important role in the maintenance of ethnic groups, as they can act as emphasising symbols of ethnic identity, particularly when the latter is under serious threat by one or more antagonistic ethnic groups. Consequently, it seems that research focusing on the identification of boundaries between different ethnic groups instead of attempting to decode and subsequently organise the members’ general characteristics within a scholarly construction of piloting value (defining criteria) is considerably more fruitful, not to mention worthwhile. According to Barth the focus of the investigation of ethnicity should be ‘the ethnic boundary that defines the group, not the cultural stuff that it encloses’ (Barth 1969: 15). This is particularly so regarding archaeological research, where the available evidence is limited and, most importantly, fragmentary. As a result of the dynamic character of situationally constructed ethnicity, ethnic groups are not monolithic entities with impermeable boundaries but elastic and negotiable, thus possibly elusive (Barth 1969; McGuire 1982;



Jenkins 1997: 9-15, 90-91; Jones 1997: 59-60, 72-74; Hall 1997: 19-26; Knapp 2001: 32). Hall, who has effectively applied recent sociological and anthropological theories in the study of ethnic identity in Greek antiquity, maintains that material culture together with biology, religion and language cannot be classified as ethnic criteria; instead, they should be viewed as mere ethnic indicia (Hall 1997: 19-26). This conclusion stems from the belief that ethnicity is constructed and infinitely renegotiated primarily through written and spoken discourse (Jones 1998: 272). In other words, the identities people construct through words have definite precedence over those they establish by means of manipulating their material culture (Morris 1998: 270). Ethnic groups can be distinguished from other social collectivities mainly on the basis of their notion of common descent and kinship and their association with a primordial territory. Thus, the set of conditions for ethnic group membership (ethnic criteria) is usually associated with one’s ability to claim common descent and kinship as well as the connection to a primordial territory (Hall 1997: 25, 36; Malkin 2001: 9-12, 15-19). Consequently, literary evidence should constitute the first and final frame of analysis in the study of past ethnic groups (Hall 1995; 1997: 182). The prioritisation of literary remains, the restrictive implications of which for the study of prehistoric ethnic groups are quite obvious, has been criticised by both social anthropologists and archaeologists. Jones, in her review of Hall’s Ethnic Identity in Greek Ethnicity (1997), argues (1998: 272-73): Many instrumentalist approaches, however, such as that proposed by Hall … see ethnic identity as originating in discursive strategies formulated in the pursuit of specific interests. Cultural, linguistic and religious dimensions of ethnicity become situated as secondary products of this process. The problem with this approach is that it fails to explain how people come to recognise commonalities and shared interests in the first place. If culture is reduced to an arbitrary secondary role in the construction of ethnic identity then it is impossible to explain how newly formulated discursive constructions of identity gain their power. The relationship between culture and ethnicity is much deeper and



more complex than Hall and other researchers have suggested. Social anthropologists have established that cultural practice motivates the recognition of commonalities of experience and interest – in other words, the factor triggering the generalisation of ethnic consciousness (Morris 1998; Jones 1997: 94-96; 1998). Thus, we return to Jones’ definitions of the terms ‘ethnic group’ and ‘ethnic identity’ cited above that employ the notion of both kinship/common descent and cultural differentiation. The adoption of these definitions in the present discussion should be emphasised, so as to avoid projecting modern ideas onto past societies, or being generally unclear whenever using these terms (Renfrew 1998). looking for ethnic symbols and boundaries in lba-eia Cyprus The complexity of the relationship between the archaeological record and past ethnic groups is a commonplace (Shennan 1994: 11-14; Hall 1997: 128-31; Knapp 2001). Elucidating the active role played by material culture in the generation of past ethnic identities is almost impossible without access to their verbal means of construction. In historical archaeology, written and spoken discourse (literary remains) and material culture (archaeological record) should be viewed as equally important elements that could be fully exploited through the methods of contrast and correlation (Morris 1998: 270; Andrén 1998: 157-175; Jones 1999). The situation in prehistoric archaeology seems more difficult, as one of the two basic components for the reconstruction of ethnic identity has not survived to the present day. This is more or less the case with LBAEIA Cyprus, where the relevant written sources are limited and date from considerably later periods (Gjerstad 1944; Demetriou 1989: 88-93; Leriou 2005: 25-26). However, the potential of material culture to be employed symbolically in the reinforcement of ethnic boundaries in a process of active ethnic ‘advertisement’ similar to biology, language and religion (postprocessualists’ active role of material culture/symbols) cannot be overlooked (Jones 1997: 112-115). Such phenomena are very common in multi-ethnic antagonistic situations that render the dynamic expression of ethnicity essential (Hall 1997: 131-36; Malkin 2001: 7-9). Thus, one would expect that such ‘advertising’ would have been essential in (prePhoenician) EIA Cyprus, the population of which, according to the pre-



vailing ‘hellenisation’ narrative (Leriou 2002: 3-6), must have consisted of at least two distinct ethnic groups, the Aegeans and the native Cypriots. What remains for us is to identify are the means through which ethnic advertisement was achieved. Ethnic groups select certain elements of their material culture and employ them as emblemic indicia of their differentiation from other groups (boundaries). These choices have a purely symbolic nature and are thus extremely difficult to reconstruct, especially in prehistoric contexts. Nevertheless, it is possible to distinguish instances of active emphatic use from their passive behavioural counterparts in the archaeological record by identifying cases of strong differentiation from the norm. Thus, it is necessary to examine the context of an archaeological phenomenon, since it is only by forming a picture of how a particular community typically uses various elements of material culture that one can discern apparent deviations from the norm. (Hall 1997: 136; italics mine) Furthermore, the examination should be as diachronic as possible and focus on various classes of the archaeological record, as it is far more likely that artefacts or cultural forms selected for the active marking of boundaries will possess a short-term rather than a long-term diacritical value, and the choice of medium for that expression will change over time. (Hall 1997: 136; italics mine) Consequently, we need to thoroughly examine the overall material culture repertory of Cyprus in pursuit of instances of cultural differentiation, which would signify ethnic signalling (emblems) and, therefore, the existence of more than one distinctive ethnic group. In chronological terms, this study should include a period of time after as well as before the advent of the Aegeans on the island. The identification of emphasised cultural boundaries, however, implies a strong group identity but not necessarily differentiation of ethnic character. The definition of the term ‘ethnic group’ adopted in the present study distinguishes it from other social collectivities by means of cultural differentiation and common descent. Thus, it is reasonable to expect that the choice of material employed in the construction of boundaries would result from some kind of strategy aiming to establish links with the mythical ancestors. Hall has provided plenty of examples of ‘ancestral-



ising’ strategies observed in the Geometric and Archaic material from the Argolid, namely EIA cult practice in areas of LBA activity or burial sites, as well as re-use of Late Helladic chamber tombs for Iron Age inhumations. It should be emphasised once more, however, that these differentiating archaeological phenomena acquire ethnic significance only when set against the context of a discursively constructed ethnicity substantiated by means of literary evidence (Dowden 1992: 74-80; Hall 1997: 137-40; Malkin 1998; 2001). In the case of EIA Cyprus, the myths attesting to the foundation of the Cypriot kingdoms by Greek heroes on their way home after the Trojan War seem to provide researchers with an ‘excuse’ for initiating a thorough investigation for cultural boundaries, although their much later date, limited number, Greek origin and association with ancient Greek political propaganda significantly undermines their position in the discursive construction of Cypriot ethnic identity (Gjerstad 1944; Demetriou 1989: 88-93; Leriou 2002: 5; Karageorghis 2004). If, however, we accept that the fragmentary information in the foundation myths does indeed reflect the generation of ethnic identity, we would expect to distinguish in the post-‘hellenisation’ EIA archaeological record of Cyprus, emblemic formations implying or demonstrating a continuity of the pre-‘hellenisation’ LC cultural traditions and/or a break from them. The former would have been created by the native population and the latter by the newcomers from the Aegean, who may generally be considered as a distinctive ethnic group (see below). What follows is an attempt to provide an example of what one should expect when initiating such an investigation. For the sake of clarity and effective illustration, the discussion of the case study is generalised and rather sketchy. The Mycenaean-style chamber tombs with long dromoi and squarish chambers that appeared on the island during the LCIIIB–CGII period are regarded by most archaeologists as one of the most important groups of evidence substantiating the presence of Aegean settlers on the island. In order to characterise the introduction and use of this tomb type as active boundary signalling, one or more of the following conditions is expected to be also present: a) the total abandonment of older tomb types, that is to say, the cham-



ber tombs with irregular chambers and short dromoi that were common all over Cyprus during the entire LBA period. b) the predominance of Mycenaean-style chamber tombs in certain areas and LC tombs in other areas of the island. c) the co-existence of older and new types in the same areas, though in clearly separated burial grounds, in other words, the establishment of special cemeteries containing exclusively Mycenaeanstyle or traditional LC chamber tombs. Nevertheless, none of these conditions can be identified in the LCIIIB -CGII archaeological record. Their total absence in association with the development of a hybrid tomb type morphologically combining the new Mycenaeanising type with the traditional LC chamber tomb (roughly squarish chambers and short and wide dromoi) blunts considerably the sharpness of the cultural boundary maintained through this particular archaeological phenomenon (Karageorghis 1975: 26; Iacovou 1989: 5556). Extending this investigation to the tomb contents might undermine further the role of Mycenaean-style chamber tombs in active ethnic signalling; alternatively it might demonstrate that this process was generated in association with the burial furniture rather than the tomb’s architectural form. The material’s thorough investigation demonstrated that the former hypothesis is valid, as very similar collections of objects are associated with both tomb-types (Leriou 2005: 159-64, 226-31, 23435, 265-66). Hybridisation reflects cultural assimilation, a complicated phenomenon that may result from a large number of social processes associated with peoples’ contact, among which are migration and colonisation. Our study should be focusing on its direct opposite, however, in other words, on people’s conscious determination to avoid hybridisation and to maintain or even to demonstrate their cultural peculiarities, in order to underline their differentiation. Thus, the statistical analysis of the ‘intrusive’ cultural elements in relation to their ‘native’ counterparts is pointless. The degree of assimilation, if any, is directly dependent on the frequency of cultural boundaries in the archaeological material under examination. To put it simply: the more boundaries identified, the less the assimilation/ interconnection between the various groups that constituted the LCIII-



CGII population. Dichotomies in the LCIII-CGII material culture analogous to those described above would more or less attest to the validity of the hypothesis of the Mycenaean colonisation of the island. That is to say, after their movement to Cyprus, the Aegean people maintained their identity and emphasised it through their material culture. A failure to locate ethnic boundaries, on the other hand, would mean that during this early period the Cypriot population did not contain antagonising ethnic elements (see below). One last issue to be addressed is the ethnic uniformity of the population that moved to Cyprus, according to the ‘hellenisation’ narrative. The degree of ‘ethnic’ uniformity characterising the population of the Aegean during the LBA is a rather complicated subject that remains to be researched both archaeologically and anthropologically. Nevertheless, its fragmented political organisation implies some kind of cultural differentiation. This hypothesis is further supported by the fact that no common name for the Mycenaean Greeks existed, and people seem to have named themselves after their town/polity; this is evident in both the Linear B tablets as well as the Homeric epics (Vasilikou 1995: 3798; Thomas 1995; Muhly 1999: 521; Sherratt 1992: 317-18). Moreover, the plethora of references to various ethne/groups of people in Iron Age literary sources such as the works of Herodotus and Thucydides, and the multi-ethnic character of the pre-Archaic Greek society, on the other hand, provide further support to the above hypothesis (Coldstream 1979: 314, 369; Snodgrass 1971: 416-36; 1980: 42-44; Sherratt 1992: 326; Dowden 1992: 60-65, 79-80; De Polignac 1995: 151-76; Hall 1997: 3466; Malkin 2001; Morgan 2001; McInerney 2001; Whitley 2001: 15056). Therefore, and always according to the ‘hellenisation’ narrative, they should rather be referred to as a cultural group, on the basis of their material culture that can be described as distinctively non-Cypriot and quite homogenous. Furthermore, even if the ‘migrants’ cannot be considered as a tightly cohesive ethnic group, their relatively distant place of geographical origin implies a certain degree of differentiation, upon which the extent and sharpness of the boundaries between the ‘migrants’ and the native Cypriot population directly depends.



results and conclusions The systematic re-examination of the Cypriot material culture during the 12th, 11th and 10th centuries within the theoretical framework outlined above, which I undertook during my doctoral research, demonstrates that only a very limited number of possible cultural boundaries can be identified. The inconclusive situation in regard to the Mycenaean chamber tombs should be considered as quite typical, since analogous hybridisation can be observed in relation to most Aegean or Aegeanising elements. The archaeological record in question was investigated both vertically and horizontally. The vertical investigation had a diachronic character aiming at the detection of significant cultural differentiation between the pre-‘hellenisation’ and the post-‘hellenisation’ material, while its horizontal counterpart aimed at the identification of boundaries within a specific site or between sites throughout Cyprus during a particular time period. The results of both the horizontal and the vertical examination will be discussed in detail elsewhere. Here, the discussion must remain restricted to merely mentioning that the former yielded extremely few indisputable instances of active ethnic signalling, associated mostly with the Phoenician presence in the EIA levels. The vertical examination, on the other hand, demonstrated that the Cypriot material culture is characterised by greater continuity than so far suggested. In regard to the instances of indisputable break and change, such as the formal closure of the sanctuaries at Enkomi and the island-wide shift of burial grounds to extramural areas, there is usually more than one explanation possible. Consequently, these phenomena should not necessarily be viewed as the results of conscious boundary-construction (Leriou 2005: 295-315). The failure to locate cultural boundaries among the Cypriot population during 1200-900 clearly suggests lack of antagonising ethnic elements. This phenomenon may be explained through the hypothesis that after the Aegeans settled in Cyprus, the level of familiarity between the newcomers and the natives was so advanced that neither group was interested in emphasising their distinctive cultural identity by means of employing material culture in processes of active ethnic signalling. Alternatively, it might be suggested that no Aegean settlement ever occurred. In this case, the working hypothesis adopted at the beginning of this discussion should be completely rejected.



While it has been established that the occurrence of Aegean cultural elements cannot be employed as a defining criterion for the presence of an Aegean group of people among the population of Cyprus, the increased occurrence of such elements in the LCIII material culture cannot be overlooked (Karageorghis 2000). When set against the turbulence attested at almost all LCIIC-LCIIIA settlements and also the general upheaval and population movement observed in the Aegean and the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean from as early as the last decades of the 13th and throughout the course of the 12th century (Ward and Joukowsky 1992; Vasilikou 1995: 395-411; Gitin, Mazar and Stern 1998; Oren 2000; Karageorghis 2002a: 71-84), these archaeological phenomena render the hypothesis of an Aegean group of considerable size or a series of Aegean groups establishing themselves in Cyprus highly probable. Consequently, it is essential to re-examine the character of this establishment, as the antagonism/opposition between the newcomers and the natives proposed by the official narrative cannot be substantiated archaeologically (Leriou 2005: 316-17). When thwarted, deprived of their collective rights or under serious threat by other, usually more powerful, groups the members of a particular ethnic group reinforce their identity by employing emphasising symbols, usually of a biological, linguistic, religious and cultural nature. Thus, the absence of cultural boundaries observed throughout the LCIIC-CGII archaeological record implies that neither the newcomers nor the natives felt the need to emphasise their distinctive identity by means of material culture manipulation. The Aegean newcomers had not come as subjugators, while their numbers must not have been very large. Consequently, they did not seem threatening to the locals. Furthermore, they must have felt quite at home in Cyprus, while the native population did not regard them as intrusive or alien. The reasons and circumstances that led to the significant level of pre‘hellenisation’ familiarisation between the Aegeans and the Cypriots should be associated with the systematic trading activity and multifaceted contact between the Aegean and Cyprus since the 14th century, if not earlier (Tatton-Brown 1997: 13-14, 38-40; Karageorghis 1997: 239-46, 249-59; 2002a: 11-25, 42-47; Leriou 2005: 317-20). Furthermore, these processes should be viewed against the wider web of multiple links and interconnections that had been established along the coasts of the East-



ern Mediterranean during the second millennium and constitutes a vast research field for archaeology and social anthropology. Reviewing the problems and difficulties associated with the deconstruction of the ethnic groups constituting the Cypriot population during the LBA-EIA has confirmed the suspected fluidity of ethnic/cultural identities within the complex structure of the social and economic interdependencies in the Eastern Mediterranean. It has also cast some light on the intricate subjects of their development, maintenance and differentiation and rendered the systematic attempts of various 20th century archaeologists to identify the ‘nationality’ of the Uluburun shipwreck utterly pointless.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to thank the Greek Archaeological Committee (UK), the British Academy, the Council for British Research in the Levant and the Foundation Anastasios G. Leventis for sponsoring my doctoral research, upon which the present paper is largely based. Special thanks are due to Matti Egon for the immense encouragement and support, financial and otherwise, she gave me throughout the course of my research. For their academic guidance and invaluable advice I am indebted to Professor Nicholas Coldstream, Professor Vassos Karageorghis, Professor Nota Kourou, Professor Maria Iacovou and Dr Susan Sherratt. Furthermore, I would like to thank my thesis’s examiners, Professor Anthony Snodgrass and Dr Gillian Shepherd, for their constructive criticism and advice. Last but not least, I owe many thanks to my supervisor, Dr Ken Wardle, for the constant guidance, encouragement and support he has been generously offering me since my doctoral research began.



AbbreviAtions CG EIA LBA LC Cypro-Geometric Early Iron Age Late Bronze Age Late Cypriot



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