Luca Bombardieri (Università di Torino), Working (with) class. Ideology, ritual and labour in Middle Bronze Age Erimi (Cyprus)
The ongoing investigation of the Middle Bronze Age community at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou revealed a new specific evidence of proto-urbanization in Cyprus. Current evidence suggests that such a process gradually develops through the Middle Bronze Age, without significant external triggers, and culminates in MC III–LC I. We may assume that during this period significant elements coherently appear, such as specialised labour, control and management of industrial production, central production complexes, the development of inter-regional trade networks and the production of prestige/symbolic objects. These appear to be as fundamental prerequisites in the subsequent process of state formation in Late Bronze Age Cyprus. The driving force in this phenomenon of proto-urbanisation, which can be compared with the formation of the so-called ‘early hierarchical societies’ in the Near East, appears to be the gradual development of a network of specialised industrial districts and centres with common characteristics, such as an increasing need for control over labour, work facilities and products. In this particular perspective, it seemed that a contribution to our knowledge of the phenomenon would be the investigation into the Middle Bronze Age industrial site of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou focusing upon the economic and ideological significance of labour within the community’s life.