Necropolis of Kissonerga-Ammoudhia: techniques of ceramic production in Early-Middle Bronze Age Western Cyprus
Graham, Lisa Marie
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The Early-Middle Bronze Age in Cyprus (c. 2300-1650 BCE) is still poorly understood, in spite of Cyprus’s strategic importance in the Mediterranean and the revolutionary cultural transformations that occurred at the end of this period. The west coast in particular, has remained a relatively blank spot on the map of the Eastern Mediterranean, where excavations have been entirely lacking until very recently. In the absence of excavated sites, a great deal of information regarding western Cypriot society from this period must be derived from pottery. This thesis aims to understand the nature of the ceramic material culture in the west through an analysis of the ceramics from the cemetery of Kissonerga-Ammoudhia, at present the largest corpus of western Cypriot funerary pottery from this period. The entire excavated assemblage is presented and a multidisciplinary approach to the ceramics is applied. A traditional typological study was conducted on the entire assemblage, and a microscopic petrographic analysis applied to a sample in order to identify the manufacturing techniques used by the potters. This corpus of information can be used to test the nature and validity of evidence for regional identity. Although there appears to be a broadly similar culture with the rest of the island, the ceramics from Ammoudhia nevertheless show significant differences to those from contemporary sites. This site contains a very large amount of Drab Polished ware; little known elsewhere, this poorly understood, but potentially vital type of pottery appears to be a western local tradition. Although originally dated to the late Middle Bronze Age, this thesis provides evidence for a considerably earlier date in western Cyprus. It also argues for this being a very long lived ware with particularly sophisticated manufacturing techniques, and is one of the technological precursors to Base Ring ware, the ubiquitous pottery vessels of the Late Bronze Age. This thesis places western Cyprus into an island-wide context, allowing for meaningful comparisons with contemporaneous sites and lays the foundations for a clearer understanding of the chronological and technological sequence, fitting into our understanding of the precursors to secondary state formation, in particular: funerary and ritual practices, trade and exchange and technological advances. This corpus from the Kissonerga Ammoudhia cemetery represents the first ever study of a large body of information from the Early-Middle Bronze Age of Western Cyprus. As such it can provide both the framework for further analyses, as well as the first glimpses of the unique culture of this area, and an understanding of how this region fits into the wider Bronze Age Mediterranean world.