Cypriot Archaeological Time Periods

The time periods below represent the chronological evolution of human activity on Cyprus. The prehistoric periods of course merge rather then being quite so strictly delineated. Research is taking place all the time and the system is constantly being refined. For example guide books and tourist guides often state that the site of Khirokitia is the earliest site on the island. However, It is now widely acknowledged that there were migrants to Cyprus well before this. The site of Akrotiri Aetokremnos (also called Site E) pushes occupation back by thousands of years.

  • Pre-Neolithic - ca. 9825 BCE
  • Neolithic - ca. 8200-3900 BCE
  • Chalcolithic - ca. 3900-2500 BCE
  • Prehistoric Bronze Age - ca. 2500-1600 BCE
  • Late Bronze Age - ca.1600-1050 BCE
  • Iron Age - ca. 1050-475 BCE
  • Classical - 475-325 BCE
  • Hellenistic - 325-58 BCE
  • Roman - 58 BCE-330 AD
  • Byzantine - 330-1191 AD
  • Lusignian - 1192-1489 AD
  • Venetian - 1489-1571 AD
  • Ottoman - 1571-1878 AD
  • British - 1878-1960 AD
  • Cyprus Republic - 1960


All of this appears very neat, and of course in reality the divisions in the Cypriot prehistoric periods are the constructs of modern archaeologists. As such there is often a great deal of variation in the literature, not only between the start and end dates used for these periods but also the terminology used as well. These time periods are also further broken down into smaller units that often initially followed what is called the 'Three Age System' originally created for the Danish National Museum.

The system rapidly became popular and can be found in the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages as well as the Early, Middle and Late systems used in many archaeological chronologies. In the link to Chronology Schemes on the left toobar, there is a page listing some of the chronologies put forward. Each of the time periods then has further details on each period and its sub-divisions.

Chronology Schemes

The chronology of Cyprus in its earliest periods is one of constant flow as new archaeological studies provide refinements or add to long running arguments. Presented below are some of the chronologies for Cyprus and they may help to explain and for you to place some of the terms that you hear.

Chronological table by I. A. Todd, 1998, Kalavasos-Tenta Guide, p9. The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation

Akrotiri phase 8500 BC
Aceramic Neolithic (early) 7500-7000 BC
Aceramic Neolithic (Late) 7000-5200 BC
Ceramic Neolithic 4500-3800 BC
Early Chalcolithic 3800-3500 BC
Middle Chalcolithic 3500-2800 BC
Late Chalcolithic 2800-2300 BC
Early Bronze Age 1 2300 (or earlier)-2150 BC
Early Bronze Age II 2150-2100 BC
Early Bronze Age III 2100-1950 BC
Middle Bronze Age I 1950-1850 BC
Middle Bronze Age II 1850-1750 BC
Middle Bronze Age III 1750-1650 BC
Late Bronze Age I 1650-1450 BC
Late Bronze Age II 1450-1200 BC
Late Bronze Age III 1200-1050 BC

Chronological table by M. Given, A.B. Knapp, 2003. The Sydney Cyprus Survey Project, Table 3.1, p30. University of California.

Early Prehistoric 9000-2500 BC
Prehistoric Bronze Age 2500-1700 BC
Protohistoric Bronze Age 1700-1000 BC
Geometric 1050-750 BC
Archaic 750-475 BC
Classical 475-312 BC
Hellenistic 312-100 BC
Early Roman 100 BC -300 AD
Late Roman 300-750 AD
Byzantine 750-1191 AD
Medieval 1191-1571 AD
Ottoman 1571-1878 AD
Modern 1878-Now

Chronological table by E. Peltenburg, 1989. Early Society in Cyprus. Edinburgh University Press.

Epi-palaeolithic 8000 BC (approx)
Early (Aceramic) Neolithic >6000-5200 BC (approx)
Late Neolithic 4500-3800 BC
Early Chalcolithic 3800-3500 BC
Middle Chalcolithic 3500-2800 BC
Late Chalcolithic 2800-2300 BC
Early Cypriot I 2300-2075 BC
Early Cypriot II 2075-2000 BC
Early Cypriot III 2000-1900 BC
Middle Cypriot I 1900-1800 BC
Middle Cypriot II 1800-1725 BC
Middle Cypriot III 1725-1600 BC
Late Cypriot I 1600-1450 BC
Late Cypriot II 1450-1200 BC
Late Cypriot III 1200-1050 BC
Cypro-Geometric I 1050-950 BC
Cypro-Geometric II 950-850 BC
Cypro-Geometric III 850-750 BC
Cypro-Archaic I 750-600 BC
Cypro-Archaic II 600-475 BC
Classical I 475-400 BC
Classical II 400-325 BC

Examples of the evolution of Cypriot culture

A number of artefacts are presented below as examples of certain time periods.

Red Polished Ware bowl

From tomb 105 in the cemetery (site A) on the eastern slope of Vounous, Cyprus
About 2300-2100 BC

Image from The British Museum.