top of page
Seminars and Events 2021
Petrie Oration: 26 March 2021
Copper production and trade in
Middle Bronze Age Cyprus:
The view from Lapithos


Adjunct Professor Jennifer M. Webb AM FAHA FSA PhD

Department of History and Archaeology, La Trobe University, Melbourne
Senior Research Associate, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus
Editor-in-Chief, Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology (SIMA), Astrom Editions, Nicosia


The Subject: The Middle Bronze Age in Cyprus (ca 2000–1700 BC) has often been seen as comprised of agro-pastoral villages largely isolated from the wider eastern Mediterranean world. Current excavations and new readings of ‘legacy’ data, however, are challenging such views, suggesting that communities were more complex and interconnected and that the internationalism of Late Bronze Age Cyprus, largely based on the trade of Cypriot copper, had its antecedents in the Middle Bronze Age. The site of Lapithos, on the north coast of Cyprus, is of major importance in this discussion. Some 140 tombs excavated here in the early 20th century produced over 1800 copper-base artefacts and more than 150 imported objects of faience, gold, silver, lead, copper and bronze. These suggest that the settlement was involved in an internal procurement network, which linked Lapithos with mining villages close to copper ore bodies in the Troodos Mountains, and an international maritime trade in metals and other goods in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC.

This paper will present current research on excavations undertaken at Lapithos in 1913 and the results of X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry analyses of 415 copper-base objects. The latter constitute one of the largest site-specific datasets for the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean and offer an opportunity to investigate the use of non-local tin and alloying, recycling and mixing practices on Cyprus in the Middle Bronze Age.


The Lecturer:­ Dr Jennifer Webb is Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Cyprus. She has devoted many years to archaeological research on Cyprus and has co-directed a number of excavations on the island. She is currently working on a major legacy project to publish over 80 Middle Bronze Age tombs excavated at Lapithos on the north coast in 1913 and 1917. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and of the Society of Antiquaries, London and in 2017 was made a Member of the Order of Australia, for ‘significant service to education, particularly to archaeology’.

When:           5.15 pm  Friday 26 March 2021

Where:          Australian Institute of Archaeology, Terrace Way, Macleod

                    (La Trobe University, Building TER 11, Melways 873-4, University parking restrictions end at 5pm)

Book:            Christopher Davey 0421 595 966

Download Flyer

Jenny Webb.jpg
Anchor 1
Lapithos 1927.tif
bottom of page