Chalcolithic Cyprus: 4000/3800-2400 BC
The Erimi culture of the Chalcolithic Age, found especially in the South and West, followed Neolithic II without a cultural break. Though still basically a stone-age society they discovered and worked the small nuggets of native copper which can be found on the surface of the earth. Only a few small items could be hammered out of this soft, pure copper: small chisels, hooks and jewellery. The buildings were round, 2 – 16 metres across with painted plaster on mud brick walls, on a stone base. The largest have internal posts to support the roof. There was growing social, as well as technical complexity which became more explicit in the Bronze Age. Houses and grave-goods now show some social differentiation. They made Red on White pottery as well as large plain, storage and cooking pots. The cruciform Picrolite (or sometimes pottery or larger, limestone) figurines with spread arms and long necks have become emblematic of the period. Some other ceramic figures explicitly depict childbirth. The island was probably ruled by regional chiefs.
In the late Chalcolithic (from 2800 BC) there was a shift in the underlying ideological system with a move away from communal activities, which led to changes in funeral ritual. Though most people were still buried within the settlements a select few were buried in cemeteries of rock-cut tombs. Monochrome pottery dominated and figurines apparently disappeared. There were some large communities of substantial, round stone and mud-brick houses, many abandoned before the Bronze Age. A few signs of Anatolian influence appear from 2800 BC onwards.