This course provides an in-depth look at the fascinating past of the island of Cyprus: the legendary birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. Join us and examine the development of Cypriot society from the island’s initial colonization in the 10th millennium BCE through the period of its rule as a province of the Roman Empire in the 4th century CE. We’ll explore a number of themes:

  • new discoveries that are revolutionizing our understanding of the Cypriot Neolithic and the role of Cyprus in the origins and spread of agriculture in the Near East;
  • Cyprus’s rapid transformation from an insular, village-based and largely egalitarian society, to an urbanized “civilization” during the Late Bronze Age;
  • Cyprus’s role in the Late Bronze Age “world system”, in which various societies of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East were increasingly interconnected through trade, warfare, and diplomacy;
  • the emergence and growth of city kingdoms during the early Iron Age, Archaic and Classical periods and the growing influences of Greek and Phoenician culture;
  • the role of domination and resistance as Cyprus fell under the control of a succession of empires (Persian, Ptolemaic, and Roman), and the effects of this on Cypriot identity and material culture;
  • the development of Cypriot archaeology from its 19th-century antiquarian roots to a modern, scientifically-based discipline; and
  • the role of colonialism and modern politics in the interpretation of Cyprus’s past.

This course provides important background for a proposed archaeological field school on Cyprus to be held in Summer 2015.