Exploring ancient island life at Hull Museums

Published: Wednesday 23rd August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Who knew that there was a little piece of Mediterranean history hidden away in Hull?

At Hull and East Riding Museum, there are a number of archaeological objects that have been sourced from all around the world. We’ve teamed up with Hull Museums to dig a little deeper into their fascinating collections.

One of the benefactors of the museums was Mr Crofts. The Crofts Collection is full of significant items from across the globe, most notably Ancient Cyprus.

Ancient Cyprus has a long, rich history, beginning in the eighth century BC. Being an island, it has been conquered and fought over for centuries. In 570 BCE, Egypt invaded and successfully took over the island, leaving a lasting legacy in the arts and fashion.

Later on, the Persians seized power of the Mediterranean landmass and a number of very important sculptures were crafted. Pottery also took influence from Persian and Greek culture.

In short, Cypriot culture was at the heart of the Ancient world, and thus the island holds a lot of evidence for how people lived during other great civilisations, including the Greek, Roman and Egyptian.

The Cypriots were also quite prosperous. This was due to the abundance of copper on the island. They regularly traded it for other resources.

Meanwhile, they swapped ideas and were heavily inspired by different cultures. This is suggested by the high volume of strikingly unique objects found in Cyprus. One example is the standing male worshipper (above), which there was not much information about when it was first discovered by Crofts.

The stance is similar to objects found in Ancient Egypt – it is standing bolt upright, straight and tall. The sweeping bob hairstyle of the figurine reflects Egyptian culture too. In the meantime, the figure is cloaked in a tunic, which is reminiscent of Near-Eastern fashion.

Incredibly, the piece originated in Cyprus. This suggests that Cypriots were frequently in touch with other cultures and inspired creatively by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

The Hull and East Riding Museum is full of Mediterranean archaeological finds. All you need to do is wander around the Roman galleries to feel like you’ve travelled back in time to a classical villa or bath. The walls and floors are covered in stunning, original mosaics, such as the Rudston Charioteer Mosaic, the Brantingham Geometric Mosaics and the Tyche Mosaic.

In the meantime, you can view items from the Crofts collection specifically, including a small ceramic flask with two handles (below), a similar-styled bowl and a decorated oil lamp.

You can see some of The Crofts Collection at Hull and East Riding Museum on the High Street. It’s open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sundays 11am-4:30pm.

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Published: Wednesday 23rd August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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