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Seeking the Cypriot Merchant. Personal objects as indicators of identity?

Angelos Papadopoulos


The subject of trade in the Eastern Mediterranean littoral during the Late Bronze Age and the role of Cyprus in these exchange networks, have received significant scholarly attention over the past decades. However, the identification of the physical presence of the Cypriot merchants outside Cyprus has yet to be discussed in detail, primarily due to the methodological problems and limitations of such a research questions. This paper suggests it is possible to acquire a sense of the whereabouts of these merchants outside Cyprus, especially in the Aegean and the Levant, by attempting to identify personal belongings which can be used as identity indicators. For this purpose, selected material culture from Cyprus, which was found outside the island, is discussed together with contemporary textual evidence, where available. A contextual examination of clay bull-shaped vessels, female figurines (Type A and B), and large pithoi can provide useful insights as they may be considered personal objects of Cypriots. This combined study of material culture and textual evidence showed that it is possible to identify certain areas, both coastal and inland, where Cypriot merchants could have resided, leaving behind them traces of their presence.


Cyprus; Trade; Late Bronze Age; Personal objects; Aegean; Levant

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Date of last access: 5 September 2020.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26247/aura5.8


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