Society and Built Environment on Late Bronze Age Cyprus: Changing Perspectives
Monumentality, Place-making and Social Interaction on Late Bronze Age Cyprus - (Volume 17) - Kevin D. Fisher
Kevin D. Fisher [+]
University of British Columbia
Chapter 2 begins with an examination of the changing intellectual landscape within which Late Cypriot society has been and interpreted and (re)constructed, with particular emphasis on the role of the built environment. I note the colonial influences in early culture historical and art historical interpretations and the persistence of these paradigms in 20th-century scholarship. The rise of processual approaches frames a discussion of ongoing debates regarding the emergence and development of complex societies on the island. New studies point to the emergence of complex polities in some regions (particularly on the north coast) during the Prehistoric Bronze Age (PreBA; ca. 2500/2400–1700 BC), along with evidence for pronounced social inequalities. These developments to some extent prefigured the nevertheless revolutionary changes that characterize the transition to the Late Bronze Age or Protohistoric Bronze Age (ProBA; ca. 1700–1100/1050 BC), which include the emergence of the island’s first cities and large-scale monumental buildings. Processual approaches have brought an emphasis on settlement systems, political economy, the emergence of social hierarchy, and state formation. I address ongoing debates regarding the sociopolitical organization of the island at this time and whether it followed centralized or corporate modes of governance. The chapter concludes by highlighting promising new trends influenced by the postprocessual critique, that mark a shift from processes to people and contribute to a social archaeology of ProBA Cyprus. Studies in landscape archaeology, memory, agency, and materiality provide inspiration for a new approach to the study of monumentality and the social dynamics of built environments.