Early Classic Period (1502 – 1499 BCE)

Emerging along the western shores of Ephemera, the Early Classic period resembles the Seyathos culture in both its technological character and its basic material features.  Geographically, however, we see great differences between these two neighboring cultures.  While the Seyathos culture with no evidence of trade, preferred the Seyathos River Valley, maintaining its agricultural roots; the Ephemerean culture was to radically alter in its structure by moving ever closer to the coast, evolving from a farm and fishing society, to one based on trade with the greater Mediterranean World.

The Early Classic period allows us to trace the ways in which this new economic strategy- trade- gave way to new technological knowledge and a new social organization along Ephemera’s western coast.  However, though some have speculated as to why, the material record of the Early Classic remains silent as to what motivated this band of people to migrate out of the Seyathos Valley.

We can, however, safely conclude that the Early Classic culture emerged out of native Seyathos stock, and not, as some have hypothesized, from foreign origins. For the Early Classic surface record clearly reveals a culture identical to the Seyathos culture but for the use of copper. As to why the Seyathos culture has yet to reveal any evidence of metal craftsmanship, one can only speculate.

(I hope that this will lay to rest arguments to the contrary—for has there ever been a society who moved to a new land leaving behind all the cultural markers of their origin?)

Material Evidance of the Early Classic Period:

While the pottery forms of the Early Classic show no differences with that of the Seyathos Culture, the Ephemereans found ways to incorporate the use of copper into their function.  Several characteristics have lead us to classify these innovations into a few distinct categories.  The first of these technical developments, which was to acquire increasing importance, are the so called ‘Vine Ware’- vase like forms with what appear to be scrap wires wrapped around them in a vine like fashion.  We see these displayed in prominent places, such as the hearths of important buildings.  The next form to develop was the wonderful, though short- lived, ‘sash’ cups.  These were small footed bowls embellished with copper wire and fastened to the foot by a method resembling the way one would wear a scarf in modern times.  The final and most common technical development occurs with the substitution of copper for what was once the function of organic material.  These are the famed ‘basket pots’ often used in the collection of herbs which were cultivated on the slopes of the foothills.

Sites Linked to the Early Classic:

Small village sites along the western coast, with associated burials.