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The 30c stamp of Cyprus of the Europe series shows an ancient sailing vessel most probably used in the copper trade from Cyprus, a map of Cyprus and a copper ingot as produced in ancient times.
The Cyprus Post gives the following by this issue:
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 foundation 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 temperatures.
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 the 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.
TRADE IN COPPER.
For the purpose of the 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 Cape and the other near Uluburun. 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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uluburun_shipwreck
A simple consignment of 6 tons of copper, discovered in Uluburun constitutes unshakeable evidence of the position held by Cyprus in the copper trade during the later Bronze Age.
Much later the ancient geographer Strabo also speaks of the wealth of Cyprus in copper.
Source: written by Dr. S. Hadjisavvas, Curator of Ancient Monuments.
Cyprus 1994 30c sg848, scott?