None Early Cypriot: (Early Bronze Age) 2300- 2000/1950 BC

Early Cypriot

(Previously dated till 1900) Although there were changes, in general the innovations of the Philia phase remained and where developed further. The new culture, which seems to have been indigenous, spread slowly so that there is again overlap with the previous one. Rule was probably by local chiefs. Cyprus was rich in copper and, despite relative isolation in EC I & II, by EC III they were the largest producer and exporter in the Mediterranean basin, though this poduction was still small in relation to the explosion of production in the Late Bronze Age. The early and mid bronze age was a largely peaceful, prosperous and independent period and pots were sculptural, biomorphic shapes and often very elaborate and fanciful. The potters wheel (invented Sumeria 3500 BC) was never used in the Cypriot early or middle Bronze Age, but after the more uniform Philia period, regional stylistic variants developed.  Pottery was all variations on Red Polished Ware, either plain or decorated in various ways. The flat bottomed pottery of the Philia was now succeeded by round bottomed, or occasionally even pointed-bottomed vessels.  

Houses were stone or mud-brick on a stone base, generally composed of several rooms around an open courtyard. Walls and floors were rendered with lime plaster with low benches and hearths against the walls and pivot holes for doors. There were mortars sunk into the floor and lime plaster bins for storage jars and pots.  There were no towns yet.

Pottery was Red Polished ware or Red/black Polished ware (bowls, jugs, amphorae,and storage jars, spindle whorls), or a course variant (as in Philia pottery) used for cooking pots, though these and loom weights were never put in tombs. Many tools were still made of stone (querns, rubbers, pounders and chert sickle blades) but there were also bronze knives, chisels, needles awls personal ornaments and a few axes, spear-heads and arrow heads.

Funerals involved feasting and the consumption of alcoholic drinks and were occasions for the display (and cementing) of status in the provision of grave goods. One must presume that there was originally some idea that the dead could make some use (or anyway get some benefit) from the objects left in their tombs, but other social factors must  have modified what was actually left. Why, after all, should they need the large number of simple bowls which were presumably a residue of the feasting.  They would, however be indicative of the number of significant people linking themselves to the kin-group.

Through most of the Bronze Age, from Early Cypriot (2300/2400BC) through Late Cypriot IIC (1200BC) most burials (at least the known, high status ones where most of these objects were found) were in rock cut tombs, often in limestone and often prone to flooding. Consequently many objects have calcium salt deposits on them and may have floated around. The bodies were laid on rock cut benches, or in niches for children and infants, and the vessels and other objects and offerings were laid on the floor. At first tombs were sometimes re-used but later the old bones were retained, though dis-articulated, and new burials added. Outside the sealed tomb was a Dromos (entrance shaft).

Early Cypriot III and Middle Cypriot I effectively constitute one, important period. Red Polished ware continued as the chief pottery through the Middle Bronze Age, but, as we will see later, now joined by small quantities of high status painted wares.