Sophistication in simplicity: The first production of wheelmade pottery on Late Bronze Age Cyprus

Lindy Crewe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


My aim in this paper is to explore the significance of the first production of wheelmade pottery during the earlier part of the Late Bronze Age on Cyprus (ca. 1650-1320 BC), considering a combination of technological and stylistic ceramic attributes. I examine the evidence - using unpublished pottery data from the key site of Enkomi in comparison with other published settlements - within the framework of a range of transformations in society and material culture that occurred during this period. I argue that the initial impact of integration into eastern Mediterranean trading systems precipitated an attempt by sectors of the population to acquire the accoutrements of 'urban' living, including the introduction of a range of Levantine-inspired vessels of standardized and simplified appearance, particularly associated with new communal consumption practices. However, lacking the urban infrastructure with which the introduction of wheel-forming technology is otherwise associated, the Cypriot response appears to be unique for the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean. This challenges the persistent assumption of an evolutionary sequence whereby ostensibly superior wheelmade pottery gradually replaces handmade wares. The evidence suggests instead a dynamic process whereby the entire Cypriot population is actively involved in the construction of social identity as expressed through material culture. © The Fund for Mediterranean Archaeology/Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2007.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-238
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Mediterranean Archaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Cyprus
  • Feasting
  • Late Bronze Age
  • Social identity
  • Technology transfer
  • Wheelmade pottery


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