What is it about?
This paper considers the role of seafaring as an important aspect of everyday life in the communities of prehistoric Cyprus. The maritime capabilities developed by early seafarers enabled them to explore new lands and seas, tap new marine resources and make use of accessible coastal sites. Over the long term, the core activities of seafaring revolved around the exploitation of marine and coastal resources, the mobility of people and the transport and exchange of goods. On Cyprus, although we lack direct material evidence (e.g. shipwrecks, ship representations) before about 2000 BC, there is no question that beginning at least by the eleventh millennium Cal BC (Late Epipalaeolithic), early seafarers sailed between the nearby mainland and Cyprus, in all likelihood several times per year. In the long stretch of time—some 4000 years—between the Late Aceramic Neolithic and the onset of the Late Chalcolithic (ca. 6800–2700 Cal BC), most archaeologists passively accept the notion that the inhabitants of Cyprus turned their backs to the sea. In contrast, this study entertains the likelihood that Cyprus was never truly isolated from the sea, and considers maritime-related materials and practices during each era from the eleventh to the early second millennium Cal BC. In concluding, I present a broader picture of everything from rural anchorages to those invisible maritime behaviours that may help us better to understand seafaring as an everyday practice on Cyprus.
Photo by Andrey Andreyev on Unsplash
Why is it important?
This is the first and only publication that examines the role of seafaring in the communities of prehistoric Cyprus, over a period of some 10k years. These seafaring activities revolved around the exploitation of marine and coastal resources, the mobility of people and the transport and exchange of goods, and enabled the ancient inhabitants of Cyprus to explore new lands and seas, exploit marine resources and make use of accessible coastal sites (ports, harbours) for trading and other social activities.
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This page is a summary of: Maritime Narratives of Prehistoric Cyprus: Seafaring as Everyday Practice, Journal of Maritime Archaeology, October 2020, Springer Science + Business Media,
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