Ceramics and Trade

Amphoroid krater

Amphoroid krater
Late Helladic IIIB (13th century BC)
Cyprus Museum, Nicosia

Two kinds of Cypriot ceramics—White Slip and Base Ring ware—became coveted exports in the Late Bronze Age. They have been found all over the Mediterranean, from the Syrian coast to Sardinia. Meanwhile, Cyprus imported numerous vessels from Mycenaean towns on the Greek mainland, from the Aegean, and from Syria. Cypriot potters began to adopt these foreign styles in their own work.


"Then I, Suppiluliuma, Great King, quickly embarked upon the sea. And the ships of Alashiya met me in battle three times. I eliminated them. I captured the ships and set them afire at sea …"

– Hittite document, 1300–1150 BC

Three recently discovered Bronze Age shipwrecks—two off the coast of Turkey and one in Greece—illustrate Cyprus's role in maritime trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. All three ships were laden with Cypriot merchandise: copper, stone anchors, and large storage jars that may have held wine, olive oil, or fine Cypriot pottery.

Cypriot ox hide ingots in the Uluburan shipwreck Cypriot ox hide ingots in the Uluburan shipwreck.