Hala Sultan Tekke was one of the most important urban centres of the Eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age. The city is located on the southern coast, on the shore of the present-day Larnaca Salt Lake, which in ancient times was connected to the Mediterranean, thus providing one of the best protected harbours on the island. The site has been excavated since the early 1970s – first under the direction of Paul Åström, and since 2010 of Peter M. Fischer.
The main aims of the renewed excavations are
In addition to the most recent occupational phase, the end of which can be dated to the mid-12th century BCE, at least four older phases of occupation can be traced in the settlement. These can preliminarily be dated to the 15th/14th through early 12th centuries BCE, whereas material evidence from tombs attests to an even earlier date of occupation.
Geophysical prospecting covering approximately 23 ha led to the discovery of new city quarters with domestic, industrial and possible administrative and/or religious buildings, as well as sub-urban areas characterised by the presence of tombs, wells and other shafts most likely reflecting ritual activities.
The presence of imported pottery and luxury commodities attests to far-reaching intercultural connections of the city to all regions in the eastern Mediterranean including the Aegean, Anatolia, the Northern and Southern Levant and Egypt, and even more remote regions, such as Sardinia. The material evidence points to Hala Sultan Tekke as one of the main trade centres in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Middle and throughout the entire Late Bronze Age. Studies of other finds including botanical and faunal remains confirm that the economy of Hala Sultan Tekke, in addition to trade, was based on textile production, purple dying, metallurgy, agriculture and animal husbandry. Urban metallurgy is substantiated by more than a ton of copper slag and ore in addition to remains of furnaces, tuyères and crucibles.