Island Archaeology

  • Helen DawsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_3280-1

Introduction

The basic premise of island archaeology is to understand how humans used islands in the past. Island archaeology considers the geographical characteristics of insular spaces as a starting point for further analysis, often within a comparative and diachronic framework. In this context, islands are considered to deserve specialist study, with three approaches featuring more prominently in the literature: (1) islands come in so many different shapes and forms that their comparison can shed light on several types of human/environmental adaptations; (2) they are like “laboratories,” i.e., microcosms or simpler versions of the mainland; and (3) they have specific characteristics that set them aside from other geographical settings.

Not everybody agrees that islands are “special” or inherently “different” from mainland situations: coastal and island locations – for instance – share many features, proximity to the sea being the most obvious one. Nevertheless, islands, especially...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bellwood, P. 2017. The first islanders. Prehistory and human migration in island Southeast Asia. Oxford: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Broodbank, C. 2000. An island archaeology of the early cyclades. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Cherry, J. 1981. Pattern and process in the earliest colonization of the Mediterranean Islands. Proceedings of the Prehistoric 47: 41–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cochrane, E.E., and T.L. Hunt. 2017. The archaeology of prehistoric Oceania. In The Oxford handbook of prehistoric Oceania, ed. E. Cochrane and T. Hunt, 1–29. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Conolly, J., and M. Campbell. 2008. Comparative island archaeologies, BAR international series 1829. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  6. Curet, L.A. 2004. Island archaeology and units of analysis in the study of ancient Caribbean societies. In Voyages of discovery. The archaeology of islands, ed. S.M. Fitzpatrick, 187–202. Westport/London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  7. Dawson, H. 2014. Mediterranean voyages. The archaeology of Island colonisation and abandonment. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  8. Evans, J.D. 1973. Islands as laboratories for the study of culture process. In The explanation of culture change: Models in prehistory, ed. A.C. Renfrew, 517–520. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  9. Fitzpatrick, S.M. 2004. Synthesizing island archaeology. In Voyages of discovery. The archaeology of islands, ed. S.M. Fitzpatrick, 3–20. Westport/London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  10. Keegan, W.F., C.L. Hofman, and R. Rodríguez Ramos. 2013. Introduction to the archaeology of the insular Caribbean. In The Oxford handbook of Caribbean archaeology, ed. W.F. Keegan, C.L. Hofman, and R. Rodríguez Ramos, 1–20. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. MacArthur, R.H., and E.O. Wilson. 1967. The theory of Island biogeography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Mead, M. 1957. Introduction to Polynesia as laboratory for the development of models in the study of cultural evolution. Journal of the Polynesian Society 66: 145.Google Scholar
  13. O’Connor, S., and P. Hiscock. 2017. The peopling of Sahul and near Oceania. In The Oxford handbook of prehistoric Oceania, ed. E. Cochrane and T. Hunt, 26–47. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Rainbird, P. 2007. The archaeology of islands. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Renfrew, C. 2004. Islands out of time? Towards an analytical framework. In Voyages of discovery. The archaeology of islands, ed. S.M. Fitzpatrick, 275–229. Westport/London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  16. Simberloff, D.S., and E.O. Wilson. 1969. Experimental zoogeography of islands: The colonization of empty islands. Ecology 50 (2): 278–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Spriggs, M. 2008. Are islands islands? Some thoughts on the history of chalk and cheese. In Islands of inquiry. Colonisation, seafaring and the archaeology of maritime landscapes, ed. G. Clark, F. Leach, and S. O’Connor, 211–226. ANU E Press, Australian National University Press, Canberra.Google Scholar
  18. Terrell, J. 1977. Human biogeography in the Solomon Islands. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.Google Scholar
  19. Terrell, J. 1999. Comment on Paul Rainbird, ‘Islands out of time: Towards a critique of island archaeology’. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 12 (2): 240–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Vayda, A.P., and R.A. Rappaport. 1963. Island cultures. In Man’s place in the island ecosystem, ed. F.R. Fosberg, 133–144. Honolulu: Bishop Museum.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Bahn, P., and J. Flenley. 1992. Easter island, Earth island. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
  2. Bevan, A., and J. Conolly. 2013. Mediterranean Islands, fragile communities and persistent landscapes: Antikythera in long-term perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carter, T., D. Contreras, S. Doyle, D.D. Mihailović, T. Moutsiou, and N. Skarpelis. 2014. The Stélida Naxos archaeological project: New data on the middle Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Cyclades. Antiquity Project Gallery 88 (341). https://www.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/carter341.
  4. Cherry, J.F., and T.P. Leppard. 2014. A little history of mediterranean island prehistory. In The Cambridge prehistory of the bronze and Iron age Mediterranean, ed. A.B.. Knapp and P. van Dommelen, 10–24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dewar, R.E. 1997. Does it matter that Madagascar is an Island? Human Ecology 25 (3): 481–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eriksen, T.H. 1993. In which sense do cultural islands exist? Social Anthropology 1: 133–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hamilton, S. 2016. Materialising island worlds: The case of prehistoric Rapa Nui (Easter Island). In Rapa Nui – Easter Island: Cultural and historical perspectives, ed. I. Conrich and H. Mückler, 129–148. Berlin: Frank & Timme.Google Scholar
  8. Hay, P. 2006. A Phenomenology of Islands. Island Studies Journal 1 (1): 19–42.Google Scholar
  9. Hunt, T., and C. Lipo. 2011. The statues that walked. Unraveling the mystery of Easter Island. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  10. Ingicco, T., G.D. van den Bergh, C. Jago-on, J.-J. Bahain, M.G. Chacón, N. Amano, H. Forestier, C. King, K. Manalo, S. Nomade, A. Pereira, M.C. Reyes, A.-M. Sémah, Q. Shao, P. Voinchet, C. Falguères, P.C.H. Albers, M. Lising, G. Lyras, D. Yurnaldi, P. Rochette, A. Bautista, and J. de Vos Carter. 2018. Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago. Nature 557: 233–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Irwin, G. 1983. Chieftainship, Kula and trade in Massim prehistory. In The Kula: New perspectives on Massim exchange, ed. J.W. Leach and E. Leach, 29–72. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kelman, I. 2018. Islands of vulnerability and resilience: Manufactured stereotypes?  https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12457.
  13. Knappett, C. 2011. An archaeology of interaction. Network perspectives on material culture and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Leppard, T.P., and C. Runnels. 2017. Maritime hominin dispersals in the Pleistocene: Advancing the debate. Antiquity 91: 510–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mijares, A.S., F. Détroit, P. Piper, R. Grün, P. Bellwood, M. Aubert, G. Champion, N. Cuevas, A. De Leon, and E. Dizon. 2010. New evidence for a 67,000-year-old human presence at Callao cave, Luzon, Philippines. Journal of Human Evolution 59 (1): 123–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mitchell, P. 2004. Towards a comparative archaeology of Africa’s islands. Journal of African Archaeology 2 (2): 229–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Seetah, K. 2010. “Our struggle”. Mauritius: An exploration of colonial legacies on an ‘island paradise’. Shima 4 (1): 99–112.Google Scholar
  18. Simmons, A.H. 2014. Stone age sailors. Paleolithic seafaring in the Mediterranean (with contributions by K. Di Benedetto). Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  19. Strasser, T.F., E. Panagopoulou, C.N. Runnels, P.M. Murray, N. Thompson, P. Karkanas, F.W. McCoy, and K.W. Wegmann. 2010. Stone age seafaring in the Mediterranean: Evidence from the Plakias region for lower Palaeolithic and Mesolithic habitation of Crete. Hesperia 79 (2): 145–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Strasser, T.F., C.N. Runnels, K.W. Wegmann, and N.C. Thompson. 2011. Dating Palaeolithic sites in southwestern Crete, Greece. Journal of Quaternary Science 26 (5): 553–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Topoi Excellence ClusterFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dorian Q. Fuller
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK