School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Marco Romeo Pitone

Marco Romeo Pitone

Reconstructing Early Cypriot Metallurgy: the case of Pyrgos-Mavroraki

Year started


Project outline

‌Due to the extraordinary wealth of its ore deposits, Cyprus was the metal powerhouse of antiquity. Most of the copper traded and used in the Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to the late Roman period was sourced from, and smelted on, the island. The importance of Cypriot ore-mineral deposits has led to a wealth of research on prehistoric copper mining and production. However, this has overwhelmingly concentrated on provenance and exchange studies (via the isotopic fingerprinting of ores and ingots) at the expense of other research strands. In particular, important questions regarding Cypriot copper technology including the role and identity of bronzesmiths still await full investigation.

Pyrgos-Mavroraki is the richest and best preserved Bronze Age metallurgical workshop ever found on Cyprus, and arguably one of the most important copper-making sites of the Bronze Age world. The quality of the evidence is so high as to make it possible to reconstruct in great detail where and how different activities and tasks where carried out within the workshop. There are also intriguing hints that the bronzesmiths operating on site may have been female, and that may have contributed to more than one workshop within the building complex. Therefore, the research promises not only to reveal in unprecedented detail how a Bronze Age smithy operated, but also to question near-universal assumptions concerning the gender and craft specialisation of ancient smiths.

Funding awards

AHRC Northern Bridge Studentship Award 2015/2018

Academic qualifications

BA in Cultural Heritage Studies (University of Milan 2006-2010). Dissertation title – "Archeologia del Sacro nell’Etruria Meridionale durante l’Età dei Metalli. Un esempio di archeologia cognitiva applicata allo studio delle tracce di culto". 

(Archaeology of the Sacred in Metal Age Southern Etruria. An example of cognitive archaeology applied to the study of cult traces.)

MA in Archaeology (University of Milan 2010-2014). Dissertation title – "L’abitato del Bronzo Finale di Sorgenti della Nova (Farnese VT). Le fasi recenti dell’abitazione 6".

(The Late Bronze Age settlement of Sorgenti della Nova (Farnese VT). The recent phases of dwelling 6.)