Pictured here are reconstructions of various Bronze Age tombs at the Larnaca Archaeological Museum in Cyprus (Lárnaka Eparkhiakó Mouseío). The following in an excerpt from their label on tomb architecture:
The earliest burials in Cyprus appear together with the first settlements dating to the 9th millennium BC. Burials of the Aceramic Neolithic were deposited in fetal position in very simple, small shaft graves. The tombs were dug under the floors of houses as seen at the settlement site of Choirokoitia. In the next phase of the Neolithic period, as observed at Sotira, the same burial architecture is used but the tombs are found outside the houses.
During the Early Bronze Age rock-cut chamber tombs with a dromos (passage-way) appear are continue to be constructed without interruption until the Roman period.
Towards the end of the Bronze age, Mycenaean influence is observed in tomb architecture mainly in the long dromos, and that type of tomb continues into the Geometric period.
In the Archaic period monumental built tombs have ben excavated at sites such as Salamis, Tamassos, Amathus. The tradition of chamber tombs continues into the Classical period with the emphasis on symmetry.
What to Make of Vessels
Red polished vessels, with simple geometric designs, are typical finds from Bronze Age chamber tombs. The small globular flasks and cups have tiny handles which cannot easily be grasped with one’s fingers. Likely a cord was threaded through these handles for easier carry or hanging storage.
Although not particularly common outside of the wealthier tombs, bronze objects such as jugs, bowls and lamp stands do begin to pop up in funerary contexts at the end of the Bronze Age. This lamp stand, cir. 750-600 BCE, was made of a Bronze and Copper alloy, and originally would have been mounted on a wooden shaft.
“Although it is clear that great amounts of copper were produced on and exported from Cyprus, the low number of bronze finds brought to light by excavations on the island, would make one wonder whether there was actually enough metal for the island itself and whether local smiths knew what to do with it. This, however, has been shown to be a misconception. Bronze masterpieces, such as the Ingot God and the Horned God from Enkomi, the four-sided stands and the rod tripods, prove that Cypriot smiths were as highly skilled in bronze casting and working, as they were in extracting and trading copper” (Papasavvas 2004).
Horse and Rider Figurines
Mounted warriors and horse figurines are common finds in Iron Age tombs and sanctuaries. They were likely placed there as offerings or as protective objects. At Salamis and other royal tombs in Cyprus there is evidence that horses were sacrificed as part of the funerary rites. Clay models of horses may therefore be interpreted as a substitute for the very expensive sacrifice of a living horse.
Papasavvas, Giorgos. “Cypriot Bronze Stands and Their Mediterranean Perspective.” Revista; Arqueologia de Ponent. Accessed December 2, 2019. https://www.academia.edu/3564712/Cypriot_bronze_stands_and_their_Mediterranean_perspective.