Middle Classic Period (1499 – 1495 BCE)

A  defining factor  in the social evolution of the Middle Classic was the rise of a new  kind of settlement.  Located among the Early Classic fishing villages settled along the shores of the Evaryan Bay, grew the first town: Ephemera.  Named after its modern counterpart located there today, this urban center began as a settlement whose central location along the bay gave it a distinct advantage over other coastal settlements in foreign trade; this advantage was capitalized on with the completion of a port – leading Ephemera to monopolize the trade in copper.

Material Evidence of the Middle Classic:

The Middle Classic is a period know for rapid changes in the development of its material goods.   The most important of these innovations is undoubtedly the introduction of the so called Banquet Ware. these round bottomed ceramic vessels – common in the Early Classic- were now embellished with strips of copper  which kept the vessel from rolling around. Discovered by Dr. David Zimerman; these ceramic vessels were though to have been a design borrowed from the Seyathis Culture, he described them as “Pure Seyathos with a copper twist”  However thanks to the recent finds by Dr. Diddier Koyller we now know that Banquet Ware, while representing radical innovation in the use of copper, also represents the first truly Ephemerean  ceramic design.  Dr. Koyller has shown  Banquet Ware ceramics were made to have a greater thickness along its walls than does the Seyathos Culture antecedent from which there design seems to originate. This was needed to compensate for the tension put on the pot by the copper; telling us that the craftsmen had made these vessels with the intention of applying copper; making this the first ceramic form unique to the Ephemerean culture.

Urban Developments of the Middle Classic:

One consequence of the growing population around the settlement of Ephemera was the appearance of sturdy robust buildings. The people of the Middle Classic built dwellings rectangular in shape, constructed out of local stone and smoothed with plaster. This represents a radical shift from the round thatched roof huts of the Early Classic – which were borrowed from the Seyathos Culture.

More surprising than the sudden rise of an urban center on the Coast of Evarya was the absorption of the sacred temple site of the Seyathos culture by the Middle Classic. From this ancient Temple Complex – built at the head of the Seyathos Valley – one can look north and see where the  Valley meets the sea. While looking east one can see Evaryan Bay and thus the settlement of Ephemera. Built by the Seyathos Culture, this Temple faced north for thousands of years, however at some point during the Middle Classic with the addition of new facade along its eastern wall the temples orientation was shifted east.  This new directional orientation was reinforced by the construction of a porch which greeted visitors as they ascended the hillside from Ephemera.  After this change in orientation we found thousands of offering vessels there from the Ephemerean Culture.  With this  the amazing amount of offerings left in the archaeological record one can only assume that many Ephemereans made this journey for what purpose we do not  know.  Perhaps Dr. Zimerman was correct in saying ‘the gods got to have there copper to’

Sites Linked to the Middle Classic:

Ephemera, Temple Complex Phase II