The excavation of a Bronze Age city in Cyprus has uncovered the home of a mysterious ancient civilization, which may have been far more advanced than historians previously thought.
Now a group of archaeologists has discovered a tomb containing the remains of 17 ancient nobles, buried alongside valuables such as gold jewelry, scarabs, pearls, and exquisite pottery.
This find may help to cast new light on the secrets of the ancient society, which suddenly vanished around 1,200 years ago as a result of the devastating Bronze Age Collapse.
The tomb has been dated to the Late Bronze Age and is thought to be over 3,500 years old. The bodies discovered in the tomb belonged to nine adults and eight children, while the artifacts found in the graves probably originated from Greece, Anatolia, Egypt and Mesopotamia. The vessels found at the site contained detailed religious iconography suggesting the offerings carried an important spiritual significance.
The ancient tomb is located in the harbor town of Hala Sultan Tekke. The project at the site is led by the archaeologist Peter Fischer, who explains that the tomb was extensively used since the early Bronze Age. Dr. Fischer is considered an authority on the Cypriot history and Near Eastern archaeology.
Dr. Fischer also said that the tomb remained in use for over three centuries, until it was burned down by invaders in around 1,200 BC. He added that the researchers had previously unearthed a vast quantity of sling ammunition used during the attack; they have also found the remnants of defensive fortifications in the city.
Dr. Fischer said that the dig had revealed many artifacts, including an artificially deformed skull, along with a plethora of ornaments. The treasure includes gold, silver, and various other kinds of jewelry; there are also some stone tools and other valuable objects used in the ancient city.
According to Dr. Fischer, the bones found in the tomb were mostly scattered around, possibly to make room for other new bodies. There was also a large pit near the skulls containing all sorts of religious artifacts, suggesting people who visited the tomb were encouraged to leave offerings to honor their deceased ancestors.
The newly discovered tomb is of considerable size, measuring almost 12 square meters, and is the most extravagant and elaborate structure from the Bronze Age ever found in Cyprus.
Dr. Fischer and his fellow Swedish archaeologists are expecting that their findings will illuminate the early history of the vanished Bronze Age cultures of Cyprus.