Island colonisation and abandonment in Mediterranean prehistory
This thesis studies the colonisation and abandonment of Mediterranean islands in prehistory by placing them within a comparative framework. The geographical scope is pan-Mediterranean and chronologically it encompasses prehistory from the time when the earliest-known human records are found on a few islands to the time when most Mediterranean islands had been colonised (approximately from the end of the Pleistocene to the end of the Iron Age). By questioning established geographical boundaries and chronological restrictions and by incorporating recent theoretical advances in island archaeology, this thesis provides alternative explanations to colonisation paradigms prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, expanding these to include considerations of abandonment and recolonisation. After investigating leading theoretical approachesto colonisation and abandonment, the study reviews the bulk of available publications on Mediterranean islandbased projects from the past ten years, and presents a series of revised colonisation and abandonment dates and models for the islands. At a broader level') these new data indicate the need for clearer distinctions between different types of island-human interaction (e. g. visitation, utilisation, occupation, establishment, abandonment, and re-colonisation). The thesis therefore also analyses - through a series of case studies - how human activity on islands varied spatially and temporally and potential reasons behind different colonisation and abandonment processes. The resulting observations are placed against the backdrop of the changing palaeogeography of the prehistoric Mediterranean, by taking into account changes in sea levels and in the islands' environments, and contextualised within the broader scheme of reference of Mediterranean prehistory.