Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Thomas Tartaron


The Early Iron Age (ca. 1200-800 BCE) in the eastern Mediterranean was an era of regeneration and innovation following a major economic and social collapse. During this period influential advancements in metalworking included the development of iron smelting, for which the period was named, as well as advancements in bronze casting. These practices were adopted by smiths around the Mediterranean. Previous scholarship has suggested that that in the Aegean, technological knowledge necessary for many aspects of complex craft production was forgotten and that techniques in metalworking were subsequently imported from Cyprus, which was a center of metallurgical innovation. In fact, the evidence for this claim is far from conclusive and many questions remain about the practical mechanisms by which these innovations could have been transmitted.

This dissertation widens the scope of the questions asked as well as the range of evidence used, looking at more mundane copper and iron objects found in larger numbers in both Cyprus and Crete. It combines an archaeometric analysis of copper-based objects from the Penn Museum’s 20th century excavations at Kourion and Lapithos on Cyprus and Vrokastro on Crete with a social network analysis of bronze and iron objects from Cyprus and Crete using data gathered from published reports. Drawing on châine opératoire, this work reconstructs communities of practice active at the sites and investigates how metallurgical knowledge was shared among and between them. The results of these analyses indicate that the most frequent and significant interactions occurred on a local scale and that long-distance connections between Cyprus and Crete have been overstated.

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