Academic journal article Antiquity

New Book Chronicle

Academic journal article Antiquity

New Book Chronicle

Article excerpt

This quarter, NBC investigates recent books on Mediterranean archaeology and explores the metaphors and other framing devices deployed to characterise the relationships between Mediterranean societies and their environments. We start with a geographical tour before considering more general contributions on the relationships between prehistoric and historic societies and the Mediterranean--both as physical environment and conceptual space.

Crete, Cyprus, Cilicia and Corinthia

KONSTANTINOS CHALIKIAS. Living on the margin: Chryssi Island and the settlement patterns of the Ierapetra area (Crete) (British Archaeological Reports international series 2549). vii+154 pages, numerous b&w illustrations. 2013. Oxford: Archaeopress; 9781-4073-1169-2 paperback 30 [pounds sterling].

MICHAEL K. TOUMAZOU, P. NICK KARDULIAS & DEREK B. COUNTS (ed.). Crossroads and boundaries: the archaeology of past and present in the Malloura valley, Cyprus (Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 65). xxiii+376 pages, 223 colour and b&w illustrations, 16 tables. 2011. Boston (MA): American Schools of Oriental Research; 978-0-89757-086-2 hardback 65 [pounds sterling].

MICHAEL C. HOFF & RHYS F. TOWNSEND (ed.). Rough Cilicia: new historical and archaeological approaches. xii+315 pages, numerous b&w illustrations. 2013. Oxford &Oakville (CT): Oxbow; 978-1-84217-5187 hardback 65 [pounds sterling].

K. KISSAS & W.-D. NIEMEIER (ed.). The Corinthia and the northeast Peloponnese: topography and history from prehistoric times until the end of Antiquity (Athenaia 4). xii+558 pages, 438 colour and b&w illustrations. 2013. Munich: Deutschen Archaologischen Institut Athen; 978-3-7774-2122-3 paperback 85 [euro].

To say that islands have been a subject of fascination for Mediterranean archaeologists would be a gross understatement. Such is their scholarly prominence that we could not contemplate our investigation without some consideration of insularity. We therefore begin with one island off the coast of another: the island of Chryssi lies c. 12km south of Crete. This speck of land (c. 5[km.sup.2]) and its relationship with the Cretan mainland--specifically the Ierapetra Isthmus which bisects Crete from north to south--forms the focus of Living on the margin: Chryssi Island and the settlement patterns of the Ierapetra area (Crete) by KONSTANTINOS CHALIKLAS. The volume reports the results of a survey of the island, spanning the Final Neolithic to Ottoman times, and a broader assessment of other Cretan islands.

Discussion is structured by chronological period and moves freely from the results of the Chryssi survey, to the more fragmentary results from the Ierapetra Isthmus, and to other small islands around the Cretan coast. This has the virtue of approaching these entities as highly integrated, but also requires close attention as the precise geographical focus constantly shifts. In this respect, the illustrative material--reproduced separately--would have been more helpful integrated into the text.

Consideration of the relationship between Chryssi and the Cretan mainland works in two directions. First, a recurrent theme is the loss of archaeological evidence in the Ierapetra area as a result of development and agriculture; Chryssi provides a better preserved landscape through which to study the mainland indirectly. In this context, Chalikias argues the evidence of Bronze Age settlement on Chryssi, and eastern Crete generally, suggests the existence of a now-lost palace at Ierapetra. Conversely, the changing socio-economic organisation of the Ierapetra area (including the Hellenistic/Roman city of Hierapytna) is central to understanding the settlement and exploitation of Chryssi.

The island was intermittently occupied; sometimes trends mirrored those of mainland Crete (e.g. limited Geometric/Classical period settlement), other times, trends contrasted (e.g. limited Early Minoan III-Middle Minoan IA activity on Chryssi compared to the mainland). …

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