Traversing space: landscape and identity in Bronze Age Cyprus
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The Cypriot Bronze Age (c.2300-1075 BCE) is a widely researched chronological period. However, with long-term material elaboration receiving most attention, detailed studies have revealed a remarkable, yet insufficiently integrated amount of data. Based on these, and since the 1960’s, researchers proposed settlement pattern models to describe increasingly complex politico-economic mechanisms. Despite continuous excavations and detailed material studies, these models have only been slightly modified over the past 50 years. This raises questions on how integrative and representative currently employed settlement pattern models are, and if new approaches may support different relationships. This study is a spatial attempt to answer these questions via a comparative research of diachronic local/regional trajectories in three valleys from the south central coast of Cyprus: the Kouris, the Vasilikos and the Maroni. It examines the association between the valleys’ surveyed and excavated data with current large-scale interpretations, focusing on human-landscape relations in open (landscape), constructed (architecture) and concealed (burials) spaces. Underscoring a pattern between natural and cognitive landscape with materially expressed identities, this study offers a novel conceptualisation of multiple scales of relations throughout the Bronze Age. Consequently, it underpins the significance of a deep understanding of local histories, prior to the formation and/or use of any generalised settlement pattern models to describe any chronological period. Finally, it supports integrative methodologies for material evidence associated with groups of people that are hardly visible in large-scale reconstructions of politico-economic relations.