Thursday, June 13, 2013
Europa 1994 - Discoveries -Cyprus 1.3.1994
My friend Merja gave me this very nice FDC.
Europa 1994 series of stamps by Cyprus consists of two stamps (10c and 30c) and the theme chosen if "Europe and Discoveries". The Cyprus Postal Services have chosen "copper" as their theme which since ancient times has been closely related to the history of Cyprus.
The stamp on the left (10c) depicts smelting or production of Copper. It is not possible to say with accuracy the period when copper was first smelted or the people who discovered it. Natural copper was known and used in Cyprus since the bronze and stone age (3900- 2500 B.C.).
Around 2500 B.C. metal prospectors from Asia Minor arrived in Cyprus and laid such strong foundations for metallurgy that the names Cyprus and copper became synonymous. The ancient Greeks and subsequently the Romans attributed the discovery of copper to the King of Cyprus Kinyras.
For the smelting of copper a temperature of 1085 Celsius is required. The ancient Cypriots were mainly using bellows made of clay in order to help charcoal set ablaze reach such high temperature. Bellows made of clay and stone as well as air shafts of the Later Bronze Age were found in Alassa, in Engomi and Maa, while scenes showing the way the bellows functioned were found in 14th century B.C. in Thebes in Egypt.
The huge masses of rust found in the foothills of Troodos, called "Mavrovounia", are evidence of an intensive production of copper, starting gradually since First Bronze Age and reached its zenith during the Later Bronze Age.
The stamp on the right (30c) depicts Trade in Copper. For the purpose of easy transportation as well as for administrative and economic reasons the metal was converted into ingots of a certain shape and size.
From the correspondence of Pharaoh Akenaton which was discovered at Tel-El-Amarna, dating back to the 14th century B.C., we learn that the King of Alasia (Cyprus) sent to Pharaoh 200 copper ingots. Another letter mentions that he had sent 500 ingots.
Copper ingots of the so called Cypriot Type, were found throughout the Mediterranean and as far away as the Black Sea area. Along the south coast of Asia Minor two shipwrecks of the Later Bronze Age were found, one near the Helidonia Capte and the other near Ulu-Burun. Both shipwrecks contained hundreds of copper ingots as well as numerous Cypriot objects, bearing witness as to the origin of the vessels. The Tel-El-Amarna letters, which also refer to the Royal vessels of Alasia, are now confirmed by archaeological evidence.
A single consignment of 6 tons of copper, discovered in Ulu-Burun constitutes unshakeable evidence of the position held by Cyprus in the copper trade during the Later Bronze Age.