Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


13 November 2013

Changing Technological and Social Environments in the Second Half of the Third Millennium BC in Cyprus

Jennifer M. Webb in Frankel, D., Webb, J.M. & Lawrence S. (eds), Archaeology in Environment and Technology: Intersections and Transformations (New York, 2013): 135-148.

From the introduction

Two major archaeologically recognisable cultural entities are visible in mid-third millennium BC Cyprus: an indigenous Late Chalcolithic dependent on hoe-based agriculture and a migrant Philia Early Bronze Age with a radically different social and technological system, including the cattle/plough complex. This was a key point of disjunction in the prehistory of Cyprus, which offered a significant competitive advantage to the newcomers and presented a major adaptive challenge to the pre-existing population. This chapter examines the impact of what appears to have been a relatively sudden introduction of a suite of new technologies and seeks to identify and explain the processes involved in the interaction between Late Chalcolithic and Bronze Age communities and the eventual encompassing of one by the other. It views them as organisationally and ideologically distinct environments – with a focus not so much on the actual physical landscape as on the perceived or experienced environment constituted through previous history and specific cultural tradition and resulting from the constraints and opportunities provided by available technologies and social structures. The incursive Philia system shaped new and divergent sets of material objects and social logics. In an attempt to explain these outcomes, this chapter adopts a contextual approach in order to identify response mechanisms and model the uptake and persistence of technologies and social strategies across the island.


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