Centre for Continuing Education

Archaeology Course: Ancient Cyprus

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

This archaeology course will explore the history of human activity on the island of Cyprus, from the Neolithic to the modern world. The Mediterranean island of Cyprus lies at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and is the third largest Mediterranean island. During the ten millennia of human occupation, it has developed a unique history and distinctive cultural outlook.

We will explore why the island was important in Mediterranean history; from copper production, to shipping trade networks, and Mediterranean military strategy. Artists and artisans on Cyprus developed unique cultural traditions in ceramics, stone, metal and other materials and provide an interesting study for the amateur archaeologist.

Along the way, we will meet figures as diverse as Cleopatra, William Shakespeare, Leonardo di Vinci, Winston Churchill and a range of archaeologists from around the world, along with the people of Cyprus themselves.


This course aims to provide you with an understanding of the fascinating history of Cyprus and equip you with the skills to recognise Cypriot pottery shapes, designs and patterns, and the unique and distinctive styles of Cypriot production. You will also gain an understanding of the processes and the history of archaeology on the island.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • trace the development and history of human interaction on the island, from the Neolithic to the modern world
  • identify key artistic and cultural developments, and recognise decorations, styles and time periods unique to Cyprus
  • describe the relationship between Cyprus and other Mediterranean historical superpowers including the Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, etc
  • talk about your knowledge of key archaeological sites and places of historical interest
  • talk about the historical development of archaeology on the island.


Week 1: An introduction to the archaeology of Cyprus

  • The history and development of archaeology in Cyprus, including Australia’s involvement since the 1930s.
  • The geography and climate of Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean and its impact on human activity.

Week 2: The Neolithic and Bronze Ages

  • The art, archaeology and key sites of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.

Week 3: Iron Age Cyprus

  • The art, archaeology and key sites of the Iron Age.

Week 4: Hellenistic and Roman Cyprus

  • The art, archaeology and key sites of the Hellenistic and Roman period.

Week 5: Medieval to Modern Cyprus

  • Key sites and archaeology of the Late Roman to modern periods on the island.

Intended audience

Open to the general public.



Delivery style

This course runs over five, weekly sessions of 2.5 hours. Delivery is online via the platform Zoom, and your own device (with sound and a camera) is required to participate.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading will be suggested throughout the course.

General readings include:

  • Green, JR, Barker, C & Gabrieli, RS 2004, Fabrika: an ancient theatre in Pafos, Nicosia.
  • Hill, G 1940, A History of Cyprus, three volumes, London, UK.
  • Karageoghis, V & Michaelides, D (eds) 1996, The Development of the Cypriot Economy: from the prehistoric period until the present day, Nicosia.
  • Karageorghis, V 1985, Archaeology in Cyprus: 1960-1985, Nicosia.
  • Karageorghis, V 1982, Cyprus: from the Stone Age to the Romans, London, UK.
  • Knapp, AB 2013, The Archaeology of Cyprus: from earliest prehistory through the Bronze Age, Cambridge, UK.
  • Steel, L 2004, Cyprus Before History: from the earliest settlers to the end of the Bronze Age, London, UK.

Some useful websites include:


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.