Gibson, Erin Shawnine Leigh
Negotiating space: routes of communication in Roman to British Colonial Cyprus.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
Full text available as:
Offering a social approach to landscape through the systematic study of
communication routes, this study redresses the balance between previous social,
historical and data driven archaeological studies of roads, paths and
communication routes, while providing landscape survey projects with the
techniques through which to address social interaction on a regional scale.
Research on roads, paths and communication routes completed over the past 50
years focuses on the technology of road building, descriptive historical accounts
of roads, and anthropological investigations that focus mainly on the role of
communication routes in movement, memory and landscape. Unlike these
previous studies, this research addresses communication routes as socially
embedded material culture.
Since the 1970s many archaeologists working in the Mediterranean have
employed regional survey techniques in order to investigate broader patterns of
human activity in the landscape. Communication routes are notoriously absent
from these survey projects. Interaction is instead extrapolated from topographical
information and sherd densities. In the current climate of landscape archaeology
where interdisciplinary regional survey projects employ ever more complex and
insightful GIS systems in the attempt to understand social landscapes, the absence
of communication data appears glaringly obvious.
Within this thesis I argue that the importance of roads and paths goes beyond the
places they may or may not connect or intersect. Instead, roads and paths are
products of daily practices that reaffirm, redefine and reproduce social and
cultural relations. Through the intensive survey of communication routes in three
distinct regions in Cyprus, (North Palekhori, Mandres and the Akamas Peninsula
Survey Zones), I gained a greater understanding of the interplay between human
activity, expressions of identity, land use and settlement from the Roman to the
British Colonial period.
Although the morphology and structural features of roads, paths and
communication routes vary between these survey zones the underlying themes
involved in the construction, maintenance and use of communication routes cut
across geography and time. This thesis pushes the boundaries of landscape
archaeology and survey methodologies to address: human-land relations,
traditions of road and path building, the role of roads and paths in the negotiation
of power and the entwined nature of communication routes and perceptions of
Actions (login required)