The Bridges Collection: A History

The Bridges Collection is a collection of archaeological artefacts which rests quietly in a corner of the Classics Department of the University of St Andrews. The collection was donated to the University by Mrs. M. Bridges in the 1960s, representing several cultural periods of Cyprus. The Bronze and Iron ages are richly represented with a variety of terracotta polished ware bowls, jugs, and figurines. The Byzantine and Roman periods are also well depicted through Sgraffiato ware dishes and everyday objects respectively.

Early Bronze Age (2400 – 2000 BCE)


  • Social hierarchies begin to develop
  • Start of copper mining and it becomes an essential resource
  • Philia culture develops

Middle Bronze Age (2000 – 1650 BCE)


  • International with Minoans, Near East, Egypt and Mycenae develop
  • Sail introduced in 2000, easier to move copper over long distances
  • Urban nuclearization develops with fortification being built for the first time

Late Bronze Age (1650 – 1050 BCE)


  • Exchange reaches peak levels
  • Massive increase in settlement size
  • Writing adopted in 1500

Geometric (1050 – 750 BCE)


  • Increased contact with Near East, with lots of cultural transmission
  • Waves of Greek immigrants from mainland who take control of major communities and increase the settlement growth
  • Increased export to Athens for grave goods

Archaic (750 – 475 BCE)


  • Rise of Assyria and subsequent takeover of Cyprus
  • After dissolution of Assyrian empire Cyprus splits into city kingdoms
  • Introduction of metal coinage

Classical (475 – 300 BCE)


  • Persians in Control of Cyprus for this whole period, disconnecting Cyprus from Greece
  • Cyprus often fought for their independence from Persians
  • The Rise of the “polis” (early cities)

Hellenistic (300 – 50 BCE)


Roman (50 BCE – 400 CE)


  • Cyprus becomes Roman province in 58 BCE
  • 332 CE earthquakes destroy most of Cyprus
  • 395 CE, Cyprus become part of the Eastern Roman Empire

Byzantine (400 – 1453 CE)


  • Full spread of Christianity to Cyprus and it becomes predominant Religion
  • Islamic artistic influences Cyprus

Follow the links in the sidebar to explore the entire collection by time period!