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Title: The impact of iron technology on the economy of the Aegean and Cyprus from 1200-850 BCE
Author: Palermo, Joanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 705X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The thesis investigates the development of ironworking industries in the Aegean and Cyprus during the Early Iron Age, covering the crucial years from the twelfth to the ninth centuries BCE. It advocates for a move away from pan-Mediterranean models that rely on a centre of 'innovation' from which the technology radiated to new regions via itinerant craftsmen. It argues instead for the development of models based on region-specific cultural and economic factors that influenced iron production and use. This comparative method reveals that the iron industries of the Aegean and Cyprus developed along separate trajectories. This thesis shows that iron objects were locally produced in the Mycenaean sphere during the Late Bronze Age. The Aegean did not depend on itinerant craftsmen from Cyprus to stimulate ironworking, but it was instead a local tradition that continued through the end of the palatial period in the Peloponnese. Iron spread throughout the Aegean in the ensuing century, with each region adapting objects to iron according to how it was valued. In the Peloponnese, iron was suitable for practical implements immediately, while Attica, Crete, Euboea, and the islands emphasised a high value ornamental purpose in mortuary display. By the 10th century, the standardisation of burial rituals during the Protogeometric integrated iron into general use across the Aegean. It became a widely produced, moderately valued metal for daily use implements like tools, as well as a regular part of mortuary display. In Cyprus, ironworking sprang up rapidly across the island, and without a Bronze Age tradition. It began as part of a package that included the arrival of Urnfield-type goods from the Aegean, iron being the more appropriate than bronze for items such as knives, daggers, fibulae, obeloi. Iron was applied in two spheres immediately, to tools of practical use and to high value mortuary display items. Local production due to the lack of ore sources in favour for a copper-smelting by-product method remains debatable, but Cypriot smiths were capable of mass-producing a series of knives. The iron industry did not disrupt but developed alongside the Early Iron Age investments made in the copper industry.
Supervisor: Lemos, Irene Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anatolia iron ; ironworking ; iron working ; ancient metallurgy ; Cypriot iron ; Early Iron Age ; Greek iron