Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


2 February 2016

The homelands of the Cyprus colonizers: selected comments

Ofer Bar-Yosef A.J. Ammerman & T. Davis (eds), Island Archaeology and the Origins of Seafaring in the Eastern Mediterranean, Eurasian Prehistory 10 (1-2) (2013): 67-82


This paper is not a comprehensive review of the entire geographic range of the lands that were the source areas for the foragers travelling to Cyprus during the Terminal Pleistocene or the colonists that settled in the island. Several selected issues for the rich literature on the Neolithic of the eastern Mediterranean, namely the Levant and Anatolia are discussed in the text. The most basic aspect is the diachronic changes in the socio-economy of the region, the emergence of cultivation as a prelude to full-fledged farming and the domestication of goat, sheep, cattle and pig. The success of farming as a subsistence strategy is seen as leading to experiments in new modes of social organization. The importance of networking and long distance connections is discussed by stressing the poorly studied role of river transport cross the Mesopotamian lands, the eastern wing of the Fertile Crescent. The more difficult crossing characterized the Levant. The success of long distance transfer of technology, plants and animals led to the experimentations with social organizations. One that was tried and finally failed is the formation of the Göbekli Tepe culture as a chiefdom. In addition potentials for conflicts are brought up and the closing remarks raise several options for the motivations of foragers and later colonist to establish Cyprus as part of the Near Eastern Neolithic world.



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