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Early preshistoric island archaeology in Cyprus: configuration of formative culture growth from the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary to the mid-3rd millenium B.C.

Held, S.; (1989) Early preshistoric island archaeology in Cyprus: configuration of formative culture growth from the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary to the mid-3rd millenium B.C. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

This dissertation studies the early prehistoric cultures of Cyprus from the beginnings to the Chalcolithic-Early Bronze Age transition in the 3rd millennium BC. Its aim is not to provide a culture-historical review, but to define, examine and explain processes of formative culture change in light of island biogeography and new evidence which has accumulated during the last decade. Current excavations on the South Coast not only indicate what may be the earliest instance of Mediterranean Island colonization, but they also hint at the existence of a proto-neolithic occupation prior to the aceramic Khirokitia Culture. This evidence is interpreted in terms of the causality of Quaternary biogeographic conditions and island colonizations by man and animals. Specifically, the discussion addresses the problem of inhibitive factors, the triggers required to overcome them, and the adaptive responses of the founder populations. Following colonization, excavated and surveyed sites attest to a widely distributed and culturally homogeneous aceramic occupation which lasted for over one millennium before disappearing in a lacuna in the archaeological record. A locational analysis attempts to define the rate of intra-island dispersal of this and the subsequent ceramic cultures, and it is argued that the use of a statistically meaningful sample of datable sites and the demographic trends it evidences contradict the hypothesis of an occupational gap. The themes of cultural continuity vs. discontinuity and demic diffusion are further explored within the framework of absolute chronology. A date-by-date discussion of 14C determinations for the Formative Period in light of advances in calibration and settlement stratigraphy is put in the context of artifactual and paleoenvironmental data and used as the chronometric underpinning for an explanation of the configuration of culture growth in an early island ecosystem. Fieldwork data are appended in a Gazetteer of Early Prehistoric Sites Supplement and a Gazetteer of Pleistocene Fossil Sites.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Early preshistoric island archaeology in Cyprus: configuration of formative culture growth from the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary to the mid-3rd millenium B.C.
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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