None Early Iron Age: Cypro Geometric Period: (1050 – 750 BC)

Early Iron Age:   Cypro Geometric Period

1050-750 BC

 Waves of Greek settlers had come to Cyprus in the 12th and 11th century BC and brought Greek culture and widespread use of the Greek language following the collapse of Mycenaean, Hittite and Yortan Bronze Age civilisations. This had largely been due to the people mentioned in records of the time as the “Sea Peoples”. Their identity is disputed but many may have also been Greek. They had also attacked Cyprus destroying many coastal cities around 1200 BC. However Cyprus was soon a centre for trade with the West and near East again, and most of the 12th century was prosperous in Cyprus, in contrast to impoverished Greece.

Around 1050 BC (the date normally used for the start of the Cypriot Iron Age) huge earth-quakes destroyed most of the recently rebuilt cities and new ones were founded (Salamis took over from ruined Enkomi since the harbour at Enkomi had silted up). This was a dark period for Cyprus and the population decreased. This is often referred to as the Greek dark age. However near the end of this period, in the first half of the 8th century BC, there was a sharp increase in numbers of settlements, ranging from large fortified urban settlements down to numerous small rural ones.  In the Archaic period which followed Cyprus achieved another great period of prosperity. In the 9th century BC, Phoenicians had settled the previously Mycenaean site at Kition (modern Larnaka) and they became an important cultural force in the revival of Cyprus.

By the end of the period the island is recorded as being divided into 10 kingdoms (perhaps in imitation of the Mycenaean culture) and was now dominated by ethnic Greeks and their language.  However at what stage these kingdoms were formed before that is disputed. Pottery shape were inherited from the late Bronze Age and the memories of Mycenaean wares.  There was also influence from the Levantine flask and globular jug shapes. Plates and dishes were introduced.   The shapes and decorations were fairly standard and mass produced but there were a number of different wares: White painted, bichrome, plain white, black slip.  In the Geometric III period Red Slip, Black on Red and Grey and Black polished wares were added. Early iron technology was taken from Cyprus to Greece. Cyprus was a pioneer of Iron extraction, possibly using iron rich waste from their huge copper production. They were the first area in the Mediterranean where iron superseded bronze in general use and most of the earliest iron weapons found in Greece came from Cyprus. However as major exporters of copper the change probably left them poorer.  It has been suggested that it resulted from the deforestation of Cyprus which did not leave enough wood to continue bulk copper smelting.  Early Cypriot Iron, though needing a higher temperature to smelt from ore, may have utilised the huge amount of old copper slag, already rich in iron, and needing less fuel to extract.

Arcadian Greek gradually took over from the old Cypriot language during this period, though old Cypro-Minoan script remained in parallel to Greek script (itself a modification of Phoenician).  Since, from this period on, we have direct, translated written records, dates can be much more precise. Earlier dates were inferred from linked finds in other countries and stratification of archaeology.