Middle Cypriot (Middle Bronze Age): 2000/1950 - 1650 BC

During this period the Red Polished Wares of the Early Bronze Age continued but with variants, and were joined by various painted wares, the most common being Handmade White painted Ware. The potters wheel was still not used and pots continued to have rounded bottoms. This was a period of great diversity and inventiveness with pottery making still local and household based with local styles cultivated. Large pithoi (storage jars) 1.2 metres or more high were sometimes sunk into the floors of buildings. Pithoi were sometimes used to store olive oil and were to become truly enormous in the Late Bronze Age.

The whole island was now already occupied. More and more of the natural forest which originally covered the island was cut down to make farms and fuel the copper smelting. Enkomi was founded to trade with nearby countries and in the Late Bronze Age other large coastal towns would develop which became the focus of international trade based on the export of copper.  Local chiefs were probably still dominant though control of much of the copper production was starting to be asserted from Enkomi late in this period. Although Cyprus remained independent and largely peaceful some forts were built towards the end of the period, though what danger they guarded against is unclear. It has been suggested that some of them may have guarded the Enkomi control of copper from the Troodos mountains, Some luxury imports from Minoan Crete and Egypt were starting to arrive in Cyprus but in nothing like the quantities of the Late Bronze Age. Over 200 square or pyramidal gaming stones have been found which have (respectively) been identified with the Egyptian board games of Senet and Mehen. Some personal ornaments still continued to be made from picrolite.

There continues to be evidence of feasting and consumption of alchoholic drinks at funerals. Through the Bronze Age from Early Cypriot (from 2300/2400BC) through Late Cypriot IIC (to 1200BC) most burials (at least the known, higher status ones where most of the objects in my collection 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.            

The date designation of the main Early/Middle/Late Cypriot divisions are now not considered to be the most useful but despite others being suggested the old ones persist. In particular the start of the Middle Cypriot was only chosen because of the start of painted wares and it cuts in two a period better considered together. I have placed  several items at the end of the Early Cypriot section, which might as likely have come from the Middle Cypriot I. 

This is still pre-history.  No names of kings palatial structures are known as in many parts of the Middle East and there was no writing until the late Bronze Age.  Even then there were almost no written records.

Note: The Middle Cypriot (Middle Bronze Age) is dated from the advent of White Painted II - VI (Handmade) Ware (White Painted I Ware is a very rare Philia ware). It has a white slip painted with black, dark brown or red lines.  It overlaps the start of the Late Cypriot I.  White Slip I-II Ware of Late Cypriot I-II has a thicker slip and less friable painted lines, which transitions into Late Cypriot III Proto White Painted (Wheelmade) Ware (and Proto Bichrome Ware - with both red and black paint used). Finally in the Early Iron Age these lose the word Proto.