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by Archaeology Newsroom

Ships in the Cyclades during the Earth Bronze Age. Some thoughts on the role ships played in the island communities

The geographic position of the Cyclads was the main factor for the creation and development of a great civilization during the Early Bronze Age. Archaeological data gives us a vivid picture of the Cycladites’ life in the third millennium BC. Ships played a decisive role in their activities and development and greatly contributed to their financial and cultural achievements. The purpose of this article is to introduce certain issues and to give some answers as regards the ship and its role in the island communities. The issues arise from two representations of ships on “pan-shaped” utensils, that combined with the up-to-date archaeological data can lead us to the following theory, that the island inhabitants had developed a satisfactory knowledge of shipbuilding already since the Early Bronze Age. The depiction of a ship can also be interpreted as a medium clearly conveying important information about the insular societies of the third millennium BC. Certain Cycladic customs, as well as thoughts and ideas regarding the social structure of the islands are echoed in the depiction of the ship of that remote civilization.