Insular, marginal or multiconnected? Maritime interaction and connectivity in the East Aegean Islands during the Early Bronze Age through ceramic evidence
PublisherTübingen University Press
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The Aegean archipelago constitutes one of the most intriguing ‘laboratories’ of island archaeology in the Mediterranean, due to the unique geomorphological configuration among the various island groups, as well as their varied cultural and historical developments. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the study of intra- and interisland connections and island/continent interactions through the application of spatial and maritime network analysis, as well as artefact analysis and the reconstruction of technological (châine opératoire approach) and distributional patterns. To a certain degree, such an interdisciplinary focus was developed for the eastern Aegean and western Anatolian borderland, an area where maritime interaction and communication via the sea has occupied archaeological scholarship over the past two decades. Although only separated by narrow sea straits, the islands and the Anatolian mainland are often considered archaeologically through the lens of boundedness and separateness. These concepts interpret archaeological frontiers of insular versus mainland areas by postcolonialist models of core-periphery relationships, in which the islands are frequently considered to be passive. In this paper, developments and diachronic changes during the Early Bronze Age (EBA) in the ceramic repertoire of the east Aegean islands are discussed, emphasising mainly on evidence from Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios, and Samos, in relation to traditions from the central Aegean (Cyclades) and the adjacent Anatolian coastlands. Focusing on the seascape/coastscape perspective and the concept of the peraia, this research also explores what constitutes the distinct cultural identity of these island communities and how this is formed and transformed through time during the 3rd mill. BCE.
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