Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2011

7 November 2012

The First Mediterranean Islanders: Initial Occupation and Survival Strategies

Edited by Nellie Phoca-Cosmetatou

The First Mediterranean Islanders: Initial Occupation and Survival Strategies

City: Oxford

Year: 2011

Publisher: Oxford University School of Archaeology

Series: University of Oxford School of Archaeology: Monograph 74

Description: Paperback, 176 p., 51 b/w figures, 8 tables, 24x17 cm


The present volume provides a much needed contribution to island archaeology by examining the characteristics of the initial occupation of the Mediterranean islands. It enhances our understanding of the mechanisms, strategies, cultural contingencies and social alliances that enabled the consolidation of a permanent human presence in these settings. Particular attention is given to small islands, which can present increased demands on people to adapt and survive due to their more marginal environments, and on islands where recent research has led to a reassessment of the date and character of initial occupation. The research presented draws on examples from Cyprus, the Cyclades, the Adriatic, the Aeolian islands, and Malta, together with overviews of the Mediterranean and in comparison to Oceania.

The volume throws into relief the multi-layered and multi-dimensional theatre provided by the Mediterranean, drawing attention to the complexities of island occupation. The notion of fluid group identities created through practice in the ‘small worlds’ of the Neolithic highlights the necessity for an emphasis on the process of occupation and consolidation of island inhabitation. This volume will provide new perspectives and challenges for island colonisation both in the Mediterranean and further afield, the Neolithic period, and the development of archaeological theory.


List of Contributors [7]

List of Figures [9]

List of Tables [13]

Acknowledgements [15]

1. Nellie Phoca-Cosmetatou, ‘Introduction: the first Mediterranean islanders’ [17-29]

2. Helen Dawson, ‘Island colonisation: settling the Neolithic question’ [31-53]

3. Alan Simmons, ‘Re-writing the colonisation of Cyprus: tales of hippo hunters and cowherders’ [55-75]

4. Nellie Phoca-Cosmetatou, ‘Initial occupation of the Cycladic islands in the Neolithic: strategies for survival’ [77-97]

5. Stašo Forenbaher & Timothy Kaiser, ‘Palagruža and the spread of farming in the Adriatic’ [99-111]

6. Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlinghieri, ‘Subsistence, mechanisms of interaction and human mobility in the Neolithic western Mediterranean: the nature of the occupation of Lipari (Aeolian islands, Sicily)’ [113-143]

7. Anthony Bonanno, ‘The lure of the islands: Malta’s first Neolithic colonisers’ [145-156]

8. Atholl Anderson, ‘Islands from the South: an Oceanian perspective on island colonisation’ [157-171]

9. Chris Gosden, ‘The small worlds of the (pre-)Neolithic Mediterranean’ [173-176]


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