Trading in the Bronze Age overview photo

Trading in the Bronze Age

  • Type:Campbell Gallery
  • Duration:Temporary

(date) 1/21/2003–9/10/2003

The Bronze Age in the Mediterranean was a cosmopolitan era. By the Late Bronze Age (1700 to 1100 BCE), complex societies had spread from the great river valleys of Mesopotamia and Egypt around the coasts of the Mediterranean to the north and west to include modern Turkey, Cyprus, Crete, and Greece.

The objects in this exhibit illustrate aspects of cultures and their trading habits in the Late Bronze Age. Items from all over the region and as far away as middle Africa and the Baltic were frequently traded. Archaeological finds, particularly from shipwreck sites, provide invaluable evidence for very sophisticated systems of trade. The geographical extent of trade patterns also implies a specialization of commerce.

Bronze Age trade involved the transport of goods, ideas, and skills, either through reciprocal exchange or raiding activities that were common at the time. Raw materials and finished products, carried across hundreds of miles of land and sea, were destined for a variety of uses, from common household objects to royal tributes recognizing power and status.