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Mediterranean Archaeological Landscapes

Mediterranean Archaeological Landscapes: Current Issues

Effie F. Athanassopoulos
LuAnn Wandsnider
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Mediterranean Archaeological Landscapes
    Book Description:

    The Mediterranean landscape record is recognized for its length and richness and the opportunity it offers to study the interaction between humans and their landscape. This volume explores a variety of current archaeological issues in the context of specific landscapes from southern Spain through Greece and Cyprus to Jordan and from antiquity to recent times. Over the last 25 years, researchers have initiated a dramatic expansion in theoretical approaches-both anthropological and classical. Over the same time span, a huge volume of field survey projects has been carried out in the Mediterranean arena. The contributors to Mediterranean Archaeological Landscapes take stock of what has been learned, identify lacunae, and consider new approaches to our understanding of the rich surface landscape record of the Mediterranean. Their goal is to explore theoretically diverse interpretative themes and the methods that make those approachable.

    eISBN: 978-1-934536-28-5
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 Mediterranean Landscape Archaeology Past and Present
    (pp. 1-14)
    Effie F. Athanassopoulos and LuAnn Wandsnider

    Recent studies of Mediterranean landscapes have emphasized their diversity, their fragmentation, and the high degree of contact between their diverse areas, that is, their connectivity (Horden and Purcell 2000). Moreover, the Mediterranean landscape record is recognized for its length and richness and the opportunity it offers to study long-term interaction between humans and their landscape, however landscape is defined. At the same time, the particular histories of archaeological perspectives that have dominated fieldwork in the region make it difficult to compare with other areas, for example, the New World. Thus, with this volume, our intent is to address issues of...

  6. 2 Less is Better: The Quality of Ceramic Evidence from Archaeological Survey and Practical Proposals for Low-Impact Survey in a Mediterranean Context
    (pp. 15-36)
    Timothy E. Gregory

    Sampling, recording, and collecting strategies stand at the heart of any archaeological survey project. All analysis is based on the collected data, and those, in turn, depend on the strategies set out at the beginning of the project. This much is obvious, and most of the recent criticism of archaeological survey has been directed at perceived weakness in these techniques. Space does not allow a full consideration of scholarly critiques of archaeological survey, but it is fair to say that current opinion tends in the direction of recommending greater, rather than lesser, collection of data—and that often means a...

  7. 3 Sampling Sinop: Putting Together the Pieces of a Fragmented Archaeological Landscape
    (pp. 37-54)
    Owen Doonan

    The Sinop Regional Archaeological Project (SRAP) is an interdisciplinary archaeological investigation of the engagement of the Sinop¹ (Turkey) hinterland with a succession of Black Sea cultures and economies over the past 5,000 years. The Sinop promontory extends about 25 km into the Black Sea at the midpoint of its southern (Turkish) coast (Fig. 3.1). Sinop is shut off from the Anatolian plateau by the Pontic mountains and set in an ideal location to control trans-Pontic and east-west coastal communications (Hiebert et al. 1997). Sinop port has the best deep-water harbor along the south coast and has functioned as a fulcrum...

  8. 4 The Disjunction between Mediterranean and Near Eastern Survey: Is It Real?
    (pp. 55-68)
    T. J. Wilkinson

    A brief perusal of the survey literature suggests that there is an ever-widening gap between archaeological surveys in the Near East and those in Mediterranean regions, with the former area appearing to be falling further behind in terms of the accurate recovery of settlements. In many parts of the Near East the tell has remained the primary objective of survey; not only are many smaller sites missed by regional surveys but even some mounded sites are under-represented. In contrast, in the Mediterranean region site recovery has improved to the point that even ephemeral scatters that show up only seasonally are...

  9. 5 Artifact, Landscape, and Temporality in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeological Landscape Studies
    (pp. 69-80)
    LuAnn Wandsnider

    Intensive survey over the last several decades has detailed an archaeological surface record in the Mediterranean that Cherry (1983:395, emphasis in original) describes as “likely to consist of a virtually continuous spatial distribution of material over the landscape, but a distribution extremely variable in density.” In addition, geoarchaeological work, often coupled with survey, has demonstrated just how dynamic Mediterranean surfaces have been. Both of these field practices, intensive survey and geoarchaeology, were carried out in part to enable regional settlement pattern studies, to collect accurate, reliable, and precise data about past settlements and their location with respect to each other...

  10. 6 Historical Archaeology of Medieval Mediterranean Landscapes
    (pp. 81-98)
    Effie F. Athanassopoulos

    In the last twenty-five years Mediterranean landscape archaeology has produced a rich surface record of Prehistoric as well as Historic times. Still, interest in the archaeology of the Medieval and Post-Medieval past remains limited. Mediterranean archaeology in general has been content to focus on the more glorious and remote time-periods, the Bronze Age, the Classical, the Roman. Many practitioners would suggest that the Medieval, the Post-Medieval, and the Early Modern pasts lie beyond the domain of archaeology. The existence of documents has relegated this segment of the past to the domain of history. Thus, understandably, landscape archaeology projects have been...

  11. 7 Historical Contingency, Nonlinearity, and the Neolithization of the Western Mediterranean
    (pp. 99-124)
    C. Michael Barton, Joan Bernabeu, J. Emili Aura, Oreto Garcia, Lluis Molina and Steven Schmich

    Over the past decade, a new synergistic perspective on the relationships between humans and the natural world has emerged in a variety of natural and social science disciplines (Balée 1998; Butzer 1996; Crumley 1994; Pyne 1997; Sheridan 1995; Zimmerer 1994). An important characteristic of this perspective is the recognition that humans and cultural systems have played an integral role in the development and maintenance of ecosystems world-wide. At the same time, humans are still subject to diverse ecological constraints, even in the context of complex society. This means that human society is constantly reshaping the intertwined cultural and natural components...

  12. 8 Time, Scale, and Interpretation: 10,000 Years of Land Use on the Transjordan Plateau amid Multiple Contexts of Change
    (pp. 125-142)
    J. Brett Hill

    Human impact on the environment has attracted growing interest among archaeologists in recent years. Like other issues in archaeology, different theoretical orientations have influenced research on this subject. As a part of human ecology, elements of evolutionary theory such as adaptation are often employed in discussions of human/environment relations (e.g., Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen 1989; Butzer 1996; Horne 1993; Joffe 1993; Minnis 1985; Rindos 1989). The idea that some societies ultimately failed because they were maladapted is also important in the archaeology of environmental degradation (Rappaport 1978).

    On the other hand, aspects of political economy and agent-based theory have an important...

  13. 9 World-Systems Theory and Regional Survey: The Malloura Valley Survey on Cyprus
    (pp. 143-164)
    P. Nick Kardulias and Richard W. Yerkes

    By its very nature, archaeological survey is regional in scope. As practiced by many scholars, the intent of such work has been to place individual sites in a larger socio-geographical context. Such work relates directly to two key general goals of archaeology: (1) the construction of regional chronological sequences, i.e. culture history; and (2) the generation of explanations of culture change at both specific locations and over broad topographic expanses. To achieve both levels of understanding, one must consider both the internal and external factors that affect societies. Various models have been proposed to navigate this difficult theoretical terrain. World-systems...

  14. 10 From Density Counts to Ideational Landscapes: Intensive Survey, Phenomenology, and the Sydney Cyprus Survey Project
    (pp. 165-182)
    Michael Given

    Landscape archaeology in the Mediterranean is favored by enormously rich quantities of surface pottery. After more than 20 years of developing intensive, systematic survey methodology, we now have the means of recording and analyzing these huge bodies of data. The interpretation of this material, however, only rarely addresses the important issue of past conceptions of the landscape. The Sydney Cyprus Survey Project (Fig. 10.1) developed an intensive survey methodology that plotted artifact distribution across its entire survey area, and interpreted that data in a broad interdisciplinary framework, revealing very different systems of land use, social organization, and past experiences of...

  15. 11 The Archaeology of Modern Greece
    (pp. 183-198)
    Lita Diacopoulos

    Most regional surveys conducted in Greece in the last decade have operated within the theoretical realms of a landscape approach to archaeology. As a consequence, the diachronic focus of such an approach now generally incorporates the modern and more recent cultural components (Post-Medieval to Modern) that in the past were systematically ignored, bringing discussion of the cultural landscape up to the present. This important development within regional studies has generally been restricted, however, to ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological investigations, each of which adopts its own distinct and appropriate methodology: describing and explaining contemporary cultural systems in the case of ethnography, and...

  16. References
    (pp. 199-234)
  17. Index
    (pp. 235-242)