CULTURE

Major edition about Cypriot antiquities

“Cyprus: Crossroads of the Eastern Mediterranean (1600-500 BC)» is the latest clothbound edition by Kapon Publications. It consists of 224 pages and 424 photographs dealing with the archaeology of two eras of Cypriot ancient history – the Late Bronze Age (1600-1050 BC) and the Geometric and Archaic periods (1050-500 BC). The book’s cover, depicting seventh- and sixth-century BC statues and statuettes from the Temple of St Eirini, fully represents all the detailed work of the book’s contents. Writing such a book is no easy task, since one must take into consideration more than one period of ancient Cypriot history, as well as all the latest theories on the importance of the island’s geographical position in the Mediterranean. «Gigantic undertaking» was the term used by Professor Vassos Karagiorgis, the author, in the book’s introduction. Karagiorgis, who was also head of excavations in the well-known area of Salamina which today is in the occupied part of the island, provides invaluable information about the three eras of Cypriot archaeology that have drawn attention the last 20 years. «First, we have the Neolithic, the Chalcolithic as well as the Early and Middle Bronze Age (from the ninth millennium until around 1600 BC). Then there is the Late Bronze Age (roughly from 1600-1050 BC) and finally both the Geometric and Archaic periods (about 1050-500 BC). This last era has recently come to the forefront due to renewed interest in the studies of the Phoenician civilization and the Phoenicians’ expansion to the west, an event in which Cyprus played a leading role.» Karagiorgis is most qualified to produce this book with all the latest results of research about his country’s ancient civilization due to his experience until 1989 as head of Antiquities and his professorship at the University of Cyprus until 1996. He also has numerous contacts abroad with colleagues specializing in Mediterranean archaeology. The book’s recently held presentation turned out to be well timed, despite initial doubts as to whether it should be held at all, given recent developments in Iraq. Lena Mendoni, general secretary of the Ministry of Culture, said that events in Iraq were reminiscent of similar circumstances in Cyprus. Angelos Delivorias, director of the Benaki Museum, also spoke about these unfortunate experiences and stressed that Karagiorgis is an excellent archaeologist, one who combines the virtues of his career with those of a responsible citizen of the world.