Enkomi - a Bronze Age City


In the east end of Cyprus, near the sea, are the ruins of Enkomi, a Bronze Age town that demonstrates just how much commerce there was before the collapse of the empires of the time. Cyprus was known for its copper, and copper is something they exported a lot of. Indeed, a boat was recently excavated off the coast of Cyprus, about a mile offshore, that was filled with copper ingots.


In the center of the town were three temples, built with ashlar limestone blocks (as opposed to rubble walls). In one of them was found a bronze statue of the Horned God, the largest bronze statue from the Bronze Age found on Cyprus. It stands about two feet high.



The Horned God statue in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. The photo behind it is the temple during excavation.

You can see the Mycenaean/Minoan influence on the statue, with the Minoan wasp waist and large thighs.



The Temple of the Horned God. In front are rooms that back in to a Hall where the statue was found.


In another temple, next to the one of the Horned God, was found another bronze statue, only slightly smaller, of the Ingot God, or a God of Copper. He is standing on a copper ingot. There was a statue of an Ingot Goddess also found nearby, with her standing on the copper ingot while holding her breasts.



The statue of the Ingot God in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. You can see He is a warrior, standing on a bronze ingot.The Ingot Goddess statue wasn't in this museum.  We know that they are standing on a copper ingots, because they were manufactured to resemble small bull hides.




The Temple of the Ingot God.


These deities show us that cattle were important, as well as copper. It's all about fertility and abundance, everything needed to keep the culture alive.


By the end of the Bronze Age their inland harbor silted up, and the town was abandoned. The populace moved on to found nearby Salamis, on the coast with a good harbor. During the subsequent Archaic period Salamis became the most powerful of the 10 city kingdoms until it was eclipsed in Ptolemaic times by the city of Paphos, on the other side of the island.



Ruins near the center of the city.




More ruins. <grin>





An ashlar limestone block with rubble walls in the background.




A view over the ruins, which are hard to see. The French excavated the city decades ago, and all excavation stopped in 1974 when the Turks invaded Cyprus. It's sad that the site is so uncared for, but it's not on the tourist trail so it isn't getting damaged, at least.