Institute of Archaeology


In Cyprus where copper was first discovered

9 February 2018

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is co-organiser, with the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK and the University of Cyprus, of a special lecture taking place in London on 20 February.

Vasiliki Kassianidou, Director of the Archaeological Research Unit, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus will give a lecture entitled 'In Cyprus where copper was first discovered...' (Pliny, Natural History ΧΧΧIV.2-4) at the High Commission in London and all are welcome to attend.

The welcome address will be given by High Commissioner Euripides L. Evriviades while the lecture will be introduced by Marcos Martinón-Torres.


The island of Cyprus holds some of the richest copper ore deposits per surface area in the world. These were extensively exploited at least since the second millennium BC. The production and trade of copper and the wealth that it produced formed the basis of the island's economy throughout ancient times, as indeed in modern times, when the copper mines of the Troodos mountains were reopened in the twentieth century AD, after more than one thousand years. It was because of copper that the king of Alashiya (the name by which Cyprus was known in the East, in the second millennium BC) could address the mightiest king of that time, the Pharaoh of Egypt, as brother, and it was because of copper that in the first millennium BC the Cypriot kings could dedicate impressive works of art in Greek sanctuaries, such as Delphi, or build fleets with hundreds of war ships.

By the first century AD, when Pliny the Elder wrote his multi-volume treatise Natural History, copper from Cyprus was so well known in the Roman Empire, that the ancient author assumed it was discovered there. Eventually the island came to give the metal its latin name - cuprum. In this lecture, the history of copper production in Cyprus will be presented against the background of the fascinating history and archaeology of the island.


RSVP by 16/02/2018 at hclpress@mfa.gov.cy
The lecture will be followed by a reception.

Any enquiries about the event may be directed to Marcos Martinón-Torres.

Further information