A Nubian Lady in Cyprus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Since 1993, a team from Princeton University has been working in Cyprus, excavating Marion, one of the ancient city kingdoms, and its successor city, Arsinoe. During exploration, two sanctuaries, dating to the Iron Age, were discovered, each containing an extraordinary number of votives, with terracotta sculptural offerings numbering over 30,000 fragments. In the earlier sanctuary, dedicated to a female deity who had affinities with a Near Eastern fertility goddess, a remarkable, nearly life-size terracotta female head was recovered, which had originally belonged to a full-length statue. The head is striking because it displays a unique physiognomy that markedly differs from facial features of other female votive sculpture dating to the latter half of the sixth century BC. Entirely made by hand, the hair and details of the Marion head find their closest parallels in representations of Nubians. That a life-size votive statue representing a foreigner was dedicated in a Cypriot sanctuary is unusual, although ancient sources record that during the sixth century Ethiopians were resident on the island. After the Pharaoh Amasis had acquired control of Cyprus in 570 BC., Ethiopian administrators were appointed, and the Marion head might be a dedication offered by a foreign bureaucrat or his wife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEx Oriente Lux
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Honour of Jolanta Młynarczyk
PublisherUniversity of Warsaw Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9788323541073
ISBN (Print)9788323540991
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Cyprus
  • Marion
  • Nubia
  • Sanctuary
  • Terracotta
  • Votive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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