Posted by John Ester on Aug 08, 2017
Ellen Herscher has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.  She has taught archaeology at Cornell and the University of Minnesota, and her specialty is the pottery of Cyprus.
Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean not far from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Greece. Ellen described how the history of a region like Cyprus can be determined from archaeological ruins. Thus, from tens of thousands of bones it was determined that the island was once inhabited by pygmy elephants and hippos that were being hunted by people.  Eventually both the animals and the people were wiped out. The island was resettled, and the relics found in archaeological digs reflect handmade pottery from around 2000 BC--the early part of the Bronze Age.
Around 1900 BC Cyprus was in contact with Crete and other parts of the Mediterranean, and by 1500 BC Cyprus was engaged in the copper trade. In addition to copper Cyprus was exporting opium in trade for goods.  Interestingly the opium was sent in containers shaped like opium plants. Cyprus became a wealthy place with big cities. The pottery from earlier times reflect that Cypriots had not only an artistic bent, but also a sense of humor.