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Co-residential group composition and the spatial design of residences: an investigation using the ethnographic and archaeological records

Romanou, E.T.; (2011) Co-residential group composition and the spatial design of residences: an investigation using the ethnographic and archaeological records. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

It is widely accepted that socio-cultural considerations play a significant role in the design of residences; yet the role played by the occupants' demographic characteristics can only be guessed at through fragmentary or anecdotal evidence. This research brings together a large body of secondary ethnographic data with the aim of exploring, in a systematic fashion, whether differences in the composition of co-residential groups find expression in the size and internal layouts of residences. It also seeks to determine whether the composition of groups can be inferred on the basis of architectural plans. If so, this approach could be of service in the social interpretation of archaeologically excavated residences. Part I of the thesis reviews the cultural, demographic, economic and political factors which influence the composition of co-residential groups. Part II explores the ethnographic corpus. This consists of architectural descriptions of 368 residences from 14 settlements situated in different parts of the world, together with demographic descriptions of their respective co-residential groups. Selective case studies are used to demonstrate that spatial factors can constrain and influence group membership. The entire corpus of residences is then analysed, and a number of spatial and architectural features identified which can point to the demographic characteristics of the groups in occupation. Finally, Part III considers the extent to which those findings can serve in the reconstruction of ancient co-residential groups. A number of ancient domestic contexts are investigated, ranging from an exceptionally well preserved historical setting (Roman Pompeii and Herculaneum) and a proto-historic setting (Iron Age Israel), to a comparatively modest prehistoric setting (Bronze Age Cyprus). The transformational processes that residences and their contents undergo during and after abandonment, and the obstacles they present to the detection of key architectural features, are dealt with in detail in the case of the Cypriot sites.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Co-residential group composition and the spatial design of residences: an investigation using the ethnographic and archaeological records
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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