By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
The Greek Bronze Age, so-called because bronze was the material generally used for tools and weapons, lasted from about 3200-1100 BC. During this time separate but interconnecting cultures flourished in the Cyclades, Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece. Minoan and Mycenaean material is exhibited in Room 12, while this gallery has material from the Cyclades between about 3200 and 1500 BC.
In the Early Bronze Age, relatively prosperous and well-populated settlements flourished in the Cyclades. The livelihood of the inhabitants depended on farming and fishing, but they also learned to utilise their metal resources, especially copper, silver and lead, while their sculptors crafted works of simple form and line using the local marble.
From the Middle Bronze Age onwards, however, the islanders were increasingly influenced by the more dominant Minoan and Mycenaean cultures, though locally produced pottery shows the continuation of their own artistic traditions.
Early Cycladic material can broadly be divided into three groups or 'cultures' -- the Grotta-Pelos culture (3200-2800 BC) the Keros-Syron culture (2800-2300 BC) and the Phylakopi I culture (2300-2000 BC). the cutlures are named after islands or sites where typical material has been found. Although they are broadly consecutive, overlaps occur, and hte dates suggested are only approximate.
Caygill, Marjorie. 1999. The British Museum: A-Z Companion to the Collections. London: The British Museum Press.