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The Small Cycladic Islands Project is a diachronic archaeological survey of several small, currently uninhabited islands located in the Cyclades, Greece. In 2019 and 2020, surface investigations focused on the multi-method, comparative documentation of 21 islets surrounding Paros and Antiparos, revealing oscillating patterns of use and non-use from prehistory to the present.
Collapse, societal failure, doom and dystopia are popular topics, both in scholarship and in much wider spheres of cultural consumption. The decline or disappearance of human societies has been a point of interest for as long as people have been aware of the vestiges of cultures past, from colonial sensationalism concerning the ruins of apparently mighty civilizations through to early scholarship emphasizing historical process (e.g. Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776–1789). Modern studies of collapse have highlighted the topic as a historical and anthropological problem of comparative interest in the archaeology of complex societies (see the foundational works of Tainter 1988; Yoffee & Cowgill 1988).
Writing and other technologies for enhancing human memory and the reach of communication seem, in many instances in the ancient world, to have a special relationship with the rise of ancient urban centers. This chapter compares the diverse instances, in which writing and other forms of record-keeping developed apparently in close coordination with burgeoning cities. The functions to which information technologies were put in early cities run the gamut from economic administration to the performance and commemoration of ritual. One important function of the khipu at Cuzco and other Inka cities and administrative centers is that the technology also served as proof of the official's fulfilment of his duty to execute and document the administrative task so ordered by his superior. In Mesopotamia, pre-writing systems such as different kinds of seals, tokens, and their combinations were already complex enough to require established methods to transfer them, along with other skills, like measuring fields or performing mathematics.
A long history of incipient urbanism in the southern Andes produced Tiwanaku, and yet, in turn, urban centrality transformed the southern Andes. This chapter focuses on two critical aspects of Tiwanaku's emergent centrality. Khonkho Wankane and Tiwanaku were sparsely inhabited centers of recurring periodic gathering and ritual activity. The chapter explores the origins of southern Andean urbanism. Tiwanaku emerged as a city between 500 and 600 CE in the Andean altiplano or high plateau. Tiwanaku thrived as an urban center during the Andean Middle Horizon. Next, the chapter discusses Tiwanaku's urban origins by explicating the recently investigated Late Formative site of Khonkho Wankane and emphasizing its distributed proto-urbanism as Tiwanaku's precursor and producer. Finally, it discusses the reason people came to these centers to begin with, focusing on the importance of cyclical social gatherings at built landscapes that facilitated proximity to ancestral monolithic personages.
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