Logo Ancient copper production on Cyprus

Deutsche Version
Excavation: The Site The Production Line Significance Images


Copper production on Cyprus during the Iron Age is of an importance not previously considered. Indeed, it is evident that copper was no longer the strategic metal that it was in the Bronze Age. At ALMYRAS, an estimated total of only 1000 kg of copper was produced over the entire duration of production there. The question as to why such a low production level of copper would be of economic viability in the Iron Age is of central importance. With the arrival of iron tools shortly before the first millenium BC, new orebodies may have become exploitable. For the first time in 2000 years of copper production in Cyprus, the silicified stockwork mineralisations may now have been mined, which before had been too hard for bronze tools. These new orebodies gave a purer copper than had been previously extracted from the enriched zones of the massive sulphides. Iron Age copper with a guaranteed Cypriot origin became one of the purest and most highly prized on the international market. This pure copper was the Cypriot trade good par excellence during the entire Iron Age and is indeed the basis for the existence of ALMYRAS at this particular time.

In addition to the archaeometallurgical work, wood species identification of over a thousand charcoal samples should throw new light on vegetation, climate development and deforestation patterns of Cyprus in the first millenium BC.