Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


21 June 2015

Becoming urban: Investigating the anatomy of the Late Bronze Age complex, Maroni, Cyprus

Sturt W. Manning, Georgia-Marina Andreou, Kevin D. Fisher, Peregrine Gerard-Little, Catherine Kearns, Jeffrey F. Leon, David A. Sewell & Thomas M. Urban Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 27.1 (2014), 3-32


The transformations entangled in becoming an urban society are increasingly attracting attention in archaeology, including in the Mediterranean. The place-making entailed in the development of urban settlement represents a fundamental change for a society; it creates over time a new urban mentalité and habitus, such that the urban fabric and place become an active part of social life, and its reproduction. While urbanism does not require the ‘state’, urban settlements form key venues for social, economic and political change leading to the potential development of sedentary early complex polities. For several areas of the world and in multiple periods, there are increasingly sophisticated studies of urbanisation. To date, Cyprus has received relatively little attention-but, as increasingly recognised, urbanisation was central to the island’s rapid change into, and emergence as, a substantial element of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean world. We consider and critique the case of urbanisation on Late Bronze Age Cyprus and highlight its importance to Cypriot and eastern Mediterranean prehistory. We explore in detail one particular case, the Maroni valley area and its Late Bronze Age complex, where relatively detailed information is becoming available from a combination of excavations, pedestrian survey and archaeological geophysics. We argue that only such detailed study allows proper recognition of the nature and anatomy of urban settlements on prehistoric Cyprus; we also argue that the scale (spatial and demographic) of the main Late Bronze Age urban settlements on Cyprus should not be underestimated.


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