Neolithic Voyagers: Why Colonize the Mediterranean Islands—The Example from Cyprus

Author(s): Alan Simmons

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The "Neolithic Revolution" in the Near East and Anatolia is the oldest known in the world. This transformative economic and social event occurred in several mainland locations, and conventional wisdom was that it did not spread to the adjacent Mediterranean islands until relatively late, essentially being a "Neolithic footnote." Cyprus has the oldest Neolithic, and until the past two decades or so, the aceramic Khirokitia Culture, starting around 7,000 cal. BC, was believed to be the oldest on any of the islands, and to represent the first human use of the island. Newer research, however, has dramatically reversed this perspective, and now Cyprus has both PPNA and PPNB occupations, as well as Late Epipaleolithic ones, that pre-date the Khirokitia Culture. The former are, in fact, as old as the mainland Neolithic. These findings raise several issues, such as seafaring and navigational skills, importation of floral and faunal resources, and the development of unique island identities. The ultimate question is why colonize these islands in the first place? This presentation examines these issues from the perspective of Cyprus and, specifically, the PPNB upland site of Ais Giorkis.

Cite this Record

Neolithic Voyagers: Why Colonize the Mediterranean Islands—The Example from Cyprus. Alan Simmons. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449450)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.151; min lat: 29.459 ; max long: 42.847; max lat: 47.99 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22797