Inventing the Eteocypriots: Imperialist Archaeology and the Manipulation of Ethnic Identity


  • Micheal Given University of Glasgow



Hellenism, colonialism, nationalism, Eteocypriots


For 60 years the 'Eteocypriots' have been seen as the Iron Age survivors of the indigenous population of Cyprus. In the 1930s, however, when the Eteocypriots first appeared in the literature, the British colonial rulers of Cyprus were exploiting ancient history and archaeology to combat Greek nationalism. This article investigates the ideology and mechanisms of imperialist archaeology, examines the textual and artefactual material used to 'invent' the Eteocypriots, and demonstrates that there is no secure archaeological or historical evidence for their existence. By encouraging the creation of an 'authentically' Cypriot ethnic group which pre-dated the Greeks, the British colonial regime denied the Hellenic character of ancient and modern Cyprus.

Author Biography

  • Micheal Given, University of Glasgow
    Michael Given is Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow. His research interests include cultural identity in Iron Age Cyprus, the ideology of imperialism and nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries AD, and landscape archaeology. He is Field Director of the Sydney Cyprus Survey Project, and has conducted field survey and excavation in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Recent publications include a co-authored volume of British colonial architecture in Cyprus, and an article in the Journal of Mediterranean Studies on nationalist and imperialist school architecture in colonial Cyprus.






How to Cite

Given, M. (1998). Inventing the Eteocypriots: Imperialist Archaeology and the Manipulation of Ethnic Identity. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 11(1), 3-29.