Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



Athanassopoulos, Effie and LuAnn Wandsnider

2004 Mediterranean Landscape Archaeology Past and Present. In Mediterranean Archaeological Landscapes: Current Issues, edited by E. Athanassopoulos and L. Wandsnider, pp. 1-14. University of Pennsylvania Museum Press, Philadelphia.


Copyright © 2004 University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Recent studies of Mediterranean landscapes have emphasized their diversity, their fragmentation, and the high degree of contact between their diverse areas, that is, their connectivity (Horden and Purcell 2000). Moreover, the Mediterranean landscape record is recognized for its length and richness and the opportunity it offers to study long-term interaction between humans and their landscape, however landscape is defined. At the same time, the particular histories of archaeological perspectives that have dominated fieldwork in the region make it difficult to compare with other areas, for example, the New World. Thus, with this volume, our intent is to address issues of relevance not only to Mediterranean archaeology but to landscape archaeology in general. There has been a dramatic expansion in the theoretical approaches-both anthropological and classical-assumed by researchers here over the last 25 years. As well, over the same time span, a huge volume of field survey projects have been carried out in the Mediterranean arena (summarized in Cherry 2003:138-40). For these two reasons, it is appropriate to take stock of what we have learned, identify lacunae, and consider new approaches to our understanding of the rich surface landscape record of the Mediterranean. Where the Archaeology of Mediterranean Landscapes volumes (Barker and Mattingly 1999) emphasize technique and method geared toward understanding population processes, our goal with this volume is to explore theoretically diverse interpretative themes and the methods that make those approachable. The Side by Side volume (Alcock and Cherry 2004) strives to make comparative sense of the many intensive Mediterranean surveys that have been conducted over the last twenty years. Complementarily, this volume deliberately explores paradigms--from anthropology, history, and other disciplines--within which Mediterranean landscape studies are currently being conducted.