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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations - Statue of Aphrodite

An Island of Prospectors and Farmers

Shrine model

Shrine model, handmade ceramic
Early Cypriot III (ca. 2100 - 2000 BC)
Cyprus Museum, Nicosia

A new technology was sweeping the ancient world: bronze metalwork. Copper is the primary component of bronze, and traders, on the lookout for copper, found a bonanza on Cyprus.

Beginning in about 2400 BC, prospectors from Anatolia explored the island for copper. They brought new ways of building houses, cooking, spinning, and weaving. They also brought cattle and the ox-drawn plow, creating an agricultural revolution. Plows opened up new terrain for farming, leading to a boom in food production and a rapid increase in population.

The newcomers spread across the island, settling in the copper-rich foothills of the Troodos Mountains and living in peaceful coexistence with the local people. Over time, the two communities merged to produce a single, unique Bronze Age culture.

Explore a Topic

Bronze Age Ceramics
Agriculture and Living Conditions
Religious Worship

Life in 2,000 B.C.

View the curator describing possible evidence of the first domesticated cat.

A ceramic vessel sheds light on what everyday life was like in Cyprus four thousand years ago.

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