Crossroads and Boundaries

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-04-30
  • Publisher: Amer School of Oriental
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Since 1990, the Athienou Archaeological Project (AAP) has investigated the Malloura valley on the edge of the central Mesaoria plain near the modern town of Athienou, Cyprus. Excavations have concentrated on the Archaic-to-Roman sanctuary and the adjacent settlement and cemeteries at the ancient site of Malloura. Survey in the Malloura valley has revealed other sites ranging from Aceramic Neolithic through Cypro-Classical, Roman and Late Medieval up to hamlets abandoned only in the 20th century. This research has focused on how successive rural populations in the Malloura valley have adapted to local environmental changes and shifting political tides in the region, and how this adaptation is reflected in the archaeological, historical, and ethnographic record recovered by the project and reported in this volume. The opening chapter contextualizes AAP's investigations within the broader disciplines of classical archaeology, anthropology, art history and classics, and outlines its primary research questions. It also sets forth the guiding theoretical principles that inform the work: issues of urban versus rural settlement, social boundaries and the negotiation of social identity, and comparative regional analyses. Other chapters touch on themes of the physical environment in the Malloura valley, of broader patterns of settlement in central Cyprus, of the regional archaeological and historical background, as well as offering brief overviews to the primary results of the project. These initial chapters provide a backdrop for the subsequent specialized chapters devoted a wide range of data presented in a variety of theoretical and methodological frameworks. These include the use of coins as indicators of affluence and trade at regional and international levels, the iconography and typology of sculpted images as indices of religious and social boundaries, the use of ceramic studies to reconstruct both trade patterns and aspects of social life, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to record the spatial distribution of sites and understand settlement dynamics through time, the examination of animal bones in ritual contexts, the analysis of human remains to build population profiles, the use of geophysical prospection to detect subsurface structures, and the use of chemical soil analysis to detect past human activity. The results presented are fully interdisciplinary and benefit from the varied perspectives of classical archaeologists, anthropologists, ceramicists, philologists, art historians, numismatists, osteologists, chemists, geophysicists, architects, and conservators. The final chapter examines the role of Athienou Archaeological Project within the structure of contemporary community relations in the modern village of Athienou.

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