ENKOMI : URBAN DEVELOPMENT

ENKOMI

N° 20 a
Town / Village : Engomi / Tuzla

District : Famagusta

 

DESCRIPTION :

This ancient town is situated around 3 km to the northwest of Salamis and to the west of the modern village of Engomi / Tuzla.

The original settlement was established in Middle Cypriote III  on a gentle slope bordered in the east by the edge of a low rocky plateau. A small farming community has settled at Enkomi. This community was probably the successor of the Kalopsida settlement, situated to the west of Enkomi. Very little has been found of the first city : a small fortress, a few houses .

This settlement phase was interrupted at around 1750 BC when the Hyksos invaded Egypt.
Althought the Hyksos did not reach Cyprus directly, it is probable that at least they affected the east part of the island. This may account for the scarcity of architectural remains belonging to the 17th and the beginning of the 16th century at Enkomi.

At around 1550 BC a period of great prosperity begins at Enkomi. The location of this fortified town which had a flourishing copper industry and was situated near the eastern coast and was equipped with an inner harbour  ( Enkomi was connected to the sea with a navigable channel) must have been the decisive factor for its development and its cosmopolitan character. There was rudimentary town planning even at this early stage; solidly-built houses were grouped in units with open spaces  or squares beside them in which to bury the dead. The north end of the town was guarded by a fortress and there were copper works close to it. The town seems to have been an important center for the working and exporting of copper. At around 1400 BC, the eastward expansion of Mycenaean commercial activity also affected Cyprus. The abundance of Mycenaean pottery and other objects found in tombs attests to the presence of Mycenaeans at Enkomi. Enkomi’s economic prosperity can be seen in the large number of gold grave goods, which also indicate the town’s links with gypt, the Middle East and the Aegean.

The end of the 13th century is considered to be the time of the arrival of the first Achaean settlers. During this period the cyclopean walls and the town’s towers were constructed. The walls have seen revealed to their full extent and consequently the town’s size can be estimated. The town spread 400m from north to south and 350m from east to west.There seem to have been four gates through the wall at the cardinal points, xith a ring street surrounding the whole city. It is during this period that the town’s road layout was altered. The roads were laid out in straight lines and were intersected perpendicularly by other roads. In addition, a paved ‘public’ square was created. This period is also characterized by the erection of monumental public buildings of a new architectural style. These buildings bear large ashlar stones a feature, which possibly indicates eastern prototypes since we find similar characteristics at Ugarit. Characteristics deriving from the Greek world also appear, such as the Mycenaean ‘megaron’ used in architecture.

Enkomi’s decline began with the raids of the ‘Sea Peoples’ although there is no evidence to support the argument that Enkomi ceased to play an important role in Cyprus’ economic and political life. Copper production remained the town’s basic industry. The large ’palace’ (building 18) gradually lost its splendor whereas the sanctuaries were maintened.  

At about 1075 BC , a natural phenomenon, probably an earthquake, destroyed the town. Enkomi was gradually abandoned and succeeded by Salamis, situated nearer to the coast. The town of Salamis was to become the next cultural, political and artistic center.

Period : Middle Cypriot III  - 1075 BC.

 

OUTSTANDING VALUE :

The ancient town is the first and largest ancient town that has been systematically excavated in Cyprus yielding extremely important information concerning the island’s history during the 2nd millennium BC. The material that has been excavated sheds light upon the island’s artistic development and its cultural and economic contacts with other areas in the Mediterranean.

Enkomi is one of the most significant commercial centers of the Late Bronze Age (1600-1500 BC.) in the Eastern Mediterranean.

MAPS / LINKS

 

DOCUMENTS :

THE HOUSE OF THE BRONZES :

A large 12th century BC. Building named ‘The House of the Bronzes’ due to the large quantities of bronze objects found inside it.

BUILDING 18 :

This building is located on the 5th road and considered to be the palace of an Achaean chief. The building is 40m long and is of ashlar masonry. Some stones are more than 3m in length and 1.40 m high. The building was ruined at the beginning of the 12th century BC.  and was rebuilt as a workshop and divided into many roms.

THE SANCTUARY OF THE ‘HORNED GOD’

This sancuary consist of a large room surrounded by other auxiliary rooms. It was in the south part of this building that the famous bronze statuette depicting a ‘Horned God’ was unearthed (exhibited in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia). Excavations under the sanctuary’s floor revealed strata dated from the 16th up to the 13th century BC.

THE SANCTUARY OF THE GOD STANDING ON AN INGOT :

Another sanctuary is situated between the 4th and 5th road, to the east of the paved square. The well-known statuette of a god standing on an ingot was found inside this sanctuary, which consists of a large room (16x10 m) surrounded by other auxiliary rooms. The large room’s walls consist of built-in benches where worshippers placed their religious offerings.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY :

Dikaios P., Egkomi : Excavations 1948 – 1958.  Vols I – III; Mainz. 1969 and 1971.

Schaefer CFA, Alasia I , Paris 1971.

Ionas I., Stratigraphies at Enkomi, in RDAC 1984, 50-65.

 

PHOTOS / VIDEOS:

  ' god standing on an ingot '

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                   

                  

 

NEWS / THREATS :

Vegetation, grazing and indications of excavations being carried out by unauthorized persons are causing extensive destruction to the site.

Statuette of horned god (Cyprus Museum) ‘Horned God’

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