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Title: The social and physical environment of Early Gozo : a study of settlement and change
Author: Boyle, Sara
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the archaeological study of settlement within a small island setting. The application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology provides a comprehensive methodological framework which enables this research to move from a consideration of the artefactual residues of domestic activity, to their composition as 'sites', and their place within the broader dynamics of settlement systems. The Maltese Islands, and the island of Gozo in particular, provide an excellent opportunity to put this framework into practice: the megalithic monuments of the islands' prehistoric era have captured the imaginations of scholars for centuries, leaving the wider prehistoric landscape poorly understood and disconnected from the impressive archaeology of the major sites. The present research seeks to change this biased view of prehistory and reconnect with the domestic aspects of Maltese prehistory by exploring the nature of prehistoric settlement activity on Gozo. The availability of a convenient survey database provides an opportunity to establish an understanding of prehistoric settlement activity on Gozo using modem GIS technology. A series of exploratory, GIS-driven spatial analyses also enable the wider social and physical context of prehistoric settlement activity to be explored. The results have revealed a cycle of settlement activity which was played out over the Neolithic and Temple Period and replayed during the Bronze Age. This cycle was driven by fluctuations in the population levels on the island, the increasing elaboration and domination of ritual, and the intimate relationship between the islanders and their small, fragile and restricted island home. Not only has this research established the most complete record of prehistoric settlement activity yet known for the Maltese Islands, it also provides new insight into human-environment interactions within a Mediterranean island setting and offers a methodological framework which can be applied to the investigation of past populations within any region and across any time period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available