Copper and Bronze

Bronze statue, 'The horned god'

Bronze statue, "The horned god"
Late Cypriot IIC (1320 - 1200 BC)
Cyprus Museum, Nicosia

Copper Production

The production and export of Cypriot copper boomed in the Late Bronze Age, reaching its zenith in the century after 1300 BC. In this period, bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) was a metal of paramount importance for armor, weapons, and tools. With its vast copper deposits, Cyprus was uniquely positioned to supply the needs of Bronze Age nations across the Mediterranean.

Copper and Bronze

As the key ingredient for hard, lustrous bronze, Cypriot copper was transformed into armor, weapons, and intricately fashioned ornamental metalwork.

Copper was traded in the form of ingots shaped like ox hides, each weighing 55–86 pounds (25–39 kilograms). Cypriot ingots have been found as far west as Marseille, France, and as far north as the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria.

The Gods of Copper

In two sanctuaries at Enkomi, archaeologists uncovered bronze statues of gods in horned helmets. One is the largest known bronze figure from the Bronze Age Mediterranean world. Another, dubbed "The Ingot God," stands triumphantly upon a copper ingot. Accompanied by votive offerings of miniature ingots, these were obviously the protectors of Cyprus's copper-based prosperity and patron deities of metalworkers.