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Object contexts

Introduction

The sites excavated by the British Museum workforce in 1897 have already been described in general terms in the context of modern fieldwork in the Maroni area. The following section outlines all the available information on original tombs and tomb groups based on the surviving archival records preserved in the Museum, though in many cases nothing is known about the original burials apart from the objects now preserved in London or Nicosia. Only in a few cases are the tomb types recorded, hence the common occurrence of a question mark in the field for ‘tomb type and status’ below. Most though were probably chamber tombs of some form (see the relevant sections of the Enkomi and Kourion chapters of this Online Research Catalogue for details of LC burial practices).

Even allowing for the fact that many tombs had already been opened when examined by Walters, the preserved items represent a highly selective sample of what was found in 1897. Very little sherd material – likely to have been left behind by looters and earlier excavators such as Cesnola – was kept, and then only of imported Aegean vases. As at Enkomi and Kourion, plain and coarse wares are almost entirely absent from the preserved finds and are rarely mentioned in the tomb lists, even though they were almost certainly found by Walters.

As a result, the objects assigned to specific tombs cannot in any sense be regarded as burial groups, and do not provide a reliable chronological indication of the time-span of the original burials. The dates given in the database reflect the overall period of time such items are known to have been made and circulated, and therefore provide only an approximate date for the tomb itself. Some of the imported Mycenaean and Minoan pottery has a more refined chronology, which is given alongside the LC dates, though these items do not in themselves provide a more precise date for the overall tomb assemblage. The abandonment of the settlement at Tsaroukkas provides a likely terminal date for some items, though some of these types continued to be used or made at other sites on the island which survived into the 12th century. 

The reader should refer to the object records of the British Museum material for full documentation of individual items. Dr Jane Johnson’s Maroni de Chypre published in 1980 remains the most detailed account of the material assigned to the Cyprus Museum (CM), with full bibliography prior to that year. References to important studies pertaining to this material that have appeared since that time are generally provided in the individual object records, but in some cases are cited in the tomb descriptions where relevant.

Many objects listed in the tomb lists can no longer be identified in London or Nicosia, some of them apparently quite valuable or culturally important, to judge from the brief descriptions provided by Walters. This information is listed under Additional Information, quoting directly from the tomb lists where appropriate. All the entries in quotation marks come from the tomb lists unless otherwise indicated.