Understanding the Social Aspects of the Built Environment
Kevin D. Fisher [+]
University of British Columbia
This monograph adopts an integrative approach to investigate how Cypriot elites employed monumental architecture as a means of advancing their sociopolitical power during the Late Bronze Age (LBA; c. 1750-1050 BC). Using such an approach, archaeologists studying ancient societies elsewhere in the Mediterranean should be able to analyze the relationship between the built environment and human behaviour. Monumental buildings on Late Bronze Age Cyprus provided contexts for social interactions, such as ceremonial feasting and religious rituals, that created social bonds or emphasized social distance as the sociopolitical objectives of interaction required. More than just spaces, these contexts were socially-constructed places, imbued with identity and memory, that played an integral role in social organization during this transformative period. The integrative approach emphasizes the role of buildings in controlling movement and encounter and in serving as the contexts for interactions through which sociopolitical structures are developed, maintained, transformed and reproduced. It investigates this using an interdisciplinary methodology that integrates access analysis with nonverbal communication and visibility analyses.