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Title: There is "something Cypriot in the air". Some thoughts on the problem of the Base Ring pottery and other Cyprus-related items from (local) Middle Bronze Age contexts in Sicily
Other Titles: Island dialogues : Cyprus in the Mediterranean network
Authors: Alberti, Gianmarco
Keywords: Bronze age -- Italy -- Sicily
Bronze age -- Cyprus
Pottery, Ancient -- Italy -- Sicily
Pottery, Ancient -- Cyprus
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: University of Edinburgh
Citation: Alberti, G. (2008). There is "something Cypriot in the air". Some thoughts on the problem of the Base Ring pottery and other Cyprus-related items from (local) Middle Bronze Age contexts in Sicily. In A. P. McCarthy (Ed.), Island dialogues : Cyprus in the Mediterranean network (pp. 130-153). University of Edinburgh
Series/Report no.: University of Edinburgh Archaeology Occasional Papers;21
Abstract: Two (local) Middle Bronze Age sites in Sicily are known for having yielded Cypriot imports: Thapsos to southeast, and Cannatello in the south-central part of the island. These imports come from contexts with a strong intercultural character, as they are featured by the presence of items from other Mediterranean areas, especially Mycenaean Greece. More over, the existence of bronze working activitiesis documented in these sites. Thapsos and Cannatello belonged to a wider network of Middle BronzeAge sites, covering the whole Sicily (from the island of Ustica to t he Aeolian Archipelago and, moving southward, Madre Chiesa).The task of this paper is twof old and deals primarily with the documentation of south-easternSicily. The evidence of Cannatello is taken into account in a comparative perspective. The author wil lfirstly attempt to stress some key elements in the problem of the chronology and origin of the Base RingII juglets from Thapsos’ contexts in south-eastern Si cily. Their origin is, in fact, debated, since two different hypotheses were put forward by scholars: Levantine and local. Taking into account some contextual and chronological data, the author suggests discarding the Levantine hypothesis.In the second part of the paper, the author will focus on the existence of other goods, yielded mainly by Thapsos tomb contexts, that could be ascribed to Cypriot trad e and that could have been arrived to Sicily along with Base Ring II juglets, if t he latter are to be considered of Cypriot origin (in this author’s opinion). On the grounds of composition al analysis of grave assemblages, the different use and appreciation of the juglets at Thapsos will be stressed in comparison with other parts of the Mediterranean area. The same is done in relation to other Cyprus-related items, like the Cypriot-fashioned local handmade bowls, objects of the author’s earlier work. It becomes clear that Cyprus-related items at Thapsos are strictly connected to the high-status segment of the local society. To this author’s mind, these ties can give reason to link Th apsos and Cyprus: Thapsos’ elite kept under controlthe local bronze dagger production and this needed raw material (copper and/or tin) provided by Cypriotcounterparts. The role of the local elite in Cypriot long-distance movements will also be explored. It mustbe stressed that a Thapsos’ type dagger was present aboard the Uluburun ship. This study enables tomake some further remarks on the geopolitical condition of the eastern Mediterranean area at the close of the fourtheenth century BC and on its possible drawbacks for Thapsos èlites’ interests.
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