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Copper ingot in the shape of an oxhide


Length: 69.800 cm
Width: 40.600 cm
Thickness: 5.000 cm
Weight: 1306.000 oz (approx.)

Miss E.T. Turner Bequest excavations

GR 1897.4-1.1535 (Bronze 173)

Room 72: Ancient Cyprus

    Copper ingot in the shape of an oxhide

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    Copper ingot in the shape of an oxhide

    From the 'Foundry Hoard' at Enkomi, Cyprus
    About 1225-1150 BC

    Ready for transport

    'Cyprus is second to none of the islands of the Mediterranean; it is rich in wine and oil, produces grain in abundance and possesses extensive copper mines at Tamassos.'
    Strabo, Geography (AD 23), 14.6.5.

    Cyprus was renowned for its copper in antiquity, and the very word 'copper' comes from the Roman name for the metal Cyprium aes (literally 'copper of Cyprus'). From about 1225 BC the Cypriot metal industry was tranformed under foreign influence. A number of hoards were deposited between about 1200 and 1100 BC, among then the 'Foundry Hoard' at Enkomi.

    It was discovered in 1897, probably in the north-western part of the site, although no precise records were made at the time. The hoard appears to be the contents of a smithy, comprising the smith's own tools and new tools for carpentry and agriculture. Fragmentary vessels and stands were all obviously used as scrap metal, which must have been set aside for re-melting. The ingots, of which this is the only complete example, are made of unworked copper. Thus would the copper have been transported, whether within the island or overseas. The mark near the edge of one of the surfaces may indicate that the piece is authentic, or perhaps identify the maker or city of origin.

    H.B. Walters, Catalogue of bronzes, Greek, R (London, 1899)

    V. Karageorghis, The coroplastic art of ancient (Nicosia, A. G. Leventis Foundation, 1991)

    H.W. Catling, Cypriot bronzework in the Myce (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1964)