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Only five years ago, Montserrat was a blank spot on the distribution map of islands in the Lesser Antilles where petroglyphs were known. In January 2016, hikers in Soldier Ghaut, a deeply incised watercourse in the northwest of the island, came upon a panel of nine petroglyphs engraved on a nearly vertical wall of volcanoclastic tuff. Soon afterward the petroglyphs were documented by the Survey and Landscape Archaeology on Montserrat project (SLAM). Then in January 2018 an additional petroglyph was spotted on a large slab of rock, detached from the rock wall on the opposite side of the ghaut. At the invitation of the Montserrat National Trust (MNT) and with European Union funding, Susana Guimarães and Christian Stouvenot traveled to Montserrat in 2018 to assist in further studies at the site. They conducted photogrammetric documentation and photography under enhanced lighting conditions and inspected the petroglyphs and their context in detail in order to advise MNT about their conservation and provisions for public access. This report presents this new group of petroglyphs and their landscape setting and considers questions of dating and interpretation.
This chapter addresses the development of Mediterranean island prehistory from Gordon Childe to John Evans's watershed papers, and charts the emergence of a comparative and explicitly quantitative island archaeology, heavily informed by biogeography, in the 1980s and 1990s. If the dominance of Childe's legacy into the 1960s explains the failure of an explicitly insular Mediterranean archaeology to emerge, then the breakdown of the diffusionist paradigm likewise played a decisive role in its development. The chapter outlines critiques of Mediterranean island archaeologies posed in the 1990s and 2000s. Essential to the development of maturity within Mediterranean island prehistory has been the recognition that many causal factors must be combined, in order to account for the development of island lifeways. The chapter also presents the practical and heuristic consequences of different paradigms, and suggests future areas of development in Mediterranean island prehistory using data from the period between the later Upper Palaeolithic and the Late Bronze Age.
The impulse to keep excavating, set against widespread failures to publish in a timely manner, has created a crisis of confidence for archaeology. This is especially so in Europe and North America, where contract archaeology has witnessed dramatic growth in recent decades, but it is not universally the case. Far from being the defining practice of the discipline, excavation is not the only technique for generating data relevant to archaeological problems and, ideally, should be deployed as one element in multi-stage, multi-scalar fieldwork strategies. In any given situation in different parts of the world, many locally specific factors affect the role and relative importance of excavation. Examples are given from the author's recent fieldwork in Greece, southern Armenia and the eastern Caribbean.
Evidence for the Ptolemaic occupation of the Cycladic island of Keos in the 3rd century B.C. is both contentious and exiguous. A recent archaeological surface survey of both the territory and the polis-centre of Koressos (Ptolemaic Arsinoe, apparently the principal Egyptian foothold on the island) invites a review of relevant historical and epigraphical evidence, old and new. Contrary to some opinion, all the available evidence implies that the later Hellenistic period was not a time of material prosperity for Koressos. It is suggested that its incorporation into the Ptolemaic empire may have contributed to its demise as a city-state, and to its eventual transformation into a minor adjunct of the neighbouring polis of Ioulis.
It is widely accepted that distinctive polities of an institutional complexity sufficient to consider as ‘states’ first appeared in the Aegean area shortly after c. 2000 B.C. Most scholars would also agree that the origins of these palace-centred societies of Minoan Crete cannot be understood without extensive reference to developments taking place within and beyond the Aegean during a long formative period spanning the late fourth and the whole of the third millennia B.C. Yet that is an era so remote that it lies well beyond the reach of even the most enthusiastic adherent of Homer as a source of information about the Bronze Age, beyond any demonstrable relevance of later Greek memory in myth and legend, well before the period to which the Mycenaean Linear B tablets refer – indeed, before the existence of written records of any sort in the region, at least in a form we can read at present. Such a dearth of documentary evidence, even of a very indirect or secondary character, might seem prima facie to damn the investigation of the emergence of the first states on Greek soil as inherently speculative and, to a degree, that is so; but in many respects the same or similar problems have to be faced in studying the later emergence of the Greek city-state. As Snodgrass has reminded us, the ancient Greek political analysts provide a wide range of ostensibly confident statements about the nature and aetiology of many early legal and religious institutions, yet they have scarcely anything to say about the appearance of the political entity of which they themselves claimed citizenship and they throw very little light on the origins of what they were analyzing. Indeed, he claims ‘it is doubtful how far, if at all, contemporary consciousness of the emergence of a “state” existed.’
When and how were the Mediterranean islands first settled? Has insularity itself—the special characteristics of islands everywhere—acted as a constraint on the manner and rate of their colonization by man? If so, is it possible for archaeologists to make use of ecological and biogeographical models which have been developed to account for the abundance and diversity of animals and plants on islands of varying size and remoteness? This paper offers a brief review of the available data on the first of these important questions, seen in the light of the second and third, and it proposes some modifications to the scenarios of colonization to be found in most current accounts of early island prehistory in the Mediterranean. As a reflection of personal research interests, I emphasize the east Mediterranean evidence, but there are useful insights to be gleaned, I believe, by comparing what we find there with the pattern for the islands of the west.
This paper briefly reviews the historical and artefactual evidence for the dating of the Middle Saxon settlement of Hamwih, Saxon Southampton. This is followed by a seriation of twenty selected pit-groups, each with varying quantities of the five classes of Middle Saxon pottery. The analysis suggests three clusters of pits, some of which can be dated using coins or ceramics found in them. The span of dates, however, is substantially shorter than has previously been proposed, and some possible explanations for this are briefly discussed.