Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 29, No 2 (2016)

Understanding the Rural Landscape of Late Bronze Age Cyprus: A Diachronic Perspective from the Vasilikos Valley

Georgia M Andreou
Issued Date: 22 Dec 2016

Abstract


For Late Bronze Age (LBA) Cyprus (ca. 1680/1650–1100 bc), while there is a long tradition of classifying both excavated and surveyed sites into types or tiers based on their estimated size, proximity to resources and each other, it is largely the excavated coastal sites that have formed the basis for politico-economic models of interpretation. As such, less attention has been given to other site types, which may have influenced and potentially contributed to the development of Cypriot society and economy in meaningful ways. Within the context of those sites, while it is widely argued that inland agricultural settlements operated as a subsistence base for miners located near the Troodos copper sources and specialists residing in the urban centres, little is known of the material culture and socioeconomic significance of the rural landscape. Rural populations are often assumed to be an amorphous, unempowered mass, fuelling centrally controlled, urban-driven systems. In order to assess and thus to expand our understanding of the character and role of this population group, and to reconsider the socioeconomic relations underpinning the Cypriot LBA rural landscape, this study engages with theoretical approaches to issues of peasantry and countryside in the Mediterranean. Subsequently, with emphasis on regional survey data from the Vasilikos Valley of Cyprus’s south-central coast, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environment is used to explore the spectrum of socioeconomic behaviour between a subservient rural support base for specialised urban production and an independent economic agency.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v29i2.32570

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