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Vegetation recolonisation of abandoned agricultural terraces on Antikythera, Greece

Palmer, C; Colledge, S; Bevan, A; Conolly, J; (2010) Vegetation recolonisation of abandoned agricultural terraces on Antikythera, Greece. Environmental Archaeology , 15 (1) 64 - 80. 10.1179/146141010X12640787648973. Green open access

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Antikythera is a small, relatively remote Mediterranean island, lying 35 km north-west of Crete, and its few contemporary inhabitants live mainly in the small village at the only port. However, an extensive network of terraces across the island bears witness to the past importance of farming on the island, although the intensity of use of these cultivated plots has changed according to fluctuating population levels. Most recently, the rural population and intensity of cultivation have dramatically declined. Our aim is to understand the recolonisation process of agricultural land by plants after terraces are no longer used for the cultivation of crops. The results demonstrate a relatively quick pace of vegetative recolonisation, with abandoned farm land covered by dense scrub within 20 to 60 years. The archaeological implications are that, following even relatively short periods of abandonment, the landscape would have required arduous reinvestment in the removal of scrub growth, as well as the repair and construction of stone terraces, to allow cultivation once again.

Type: Article
Title: Vegetation recolonisation of abandoned agricultural terraces on Antikythera, Greece
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1179/146141010X12640787648973
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/146141010X12640787648973
Language: English
Additional information: © Copyright 2010 Association of Environmental Archaeology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/174663
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