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Pattern and Process in the Earliest Colonization of the Mediterranean Islands

  • John F. Cherry (a1)

When and how were the Mediterranean islands first settled? Has insularity itself—the special characteristics of islands everywhere—acted as a constraint on the manner and rate of their colonization by man? If so, is it possible for archaeologists to make use of ecological and biogeographical models which have been developed to account for the abundance and diversity of animals and plants on islands of varying size and remoteness? This paper offers a brief review of the available data on the first of these important questions, seen in the light of the second and third, and it proposes some modifications to the scenarios of colonization to be found in most current accounts of early island prehistory in the Mediterranean. As a reflection of personal research interests, I emphasize the east Mediterranean evidence, but there are useful insights to be gleaned, I believe, by comparing what we find there with the pattern for the islands of the west.

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