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cestral skull with two post-mortem drill-holes for cus on chronology and typology in a manner remi-
suspension is described incorrectly as a 'trepanned' niscent of the 1950s in the west. Radiocarbon dat-
skull in figure 4.22. ing is still regarded with enough suspicion so that
The debates in post-Soviet archaeology are mostly it is often discarded if it contradicts seriation-based
about chronology and culture history, not about site chronologies - although this is changing. The col-
formation and abandonment processes, the variable lection of essays reviewed here exhibits all of these
meanings of style in material culture or the causes characteristics. Different agendas can make conver-
and dynamics of culture change, the principal sub- sation and cooperation between post-Soviet and
jects of debate in the west. Culture change is ex- western archaeologists an exercise in patience and
plained in post-Soviet archaeology principally by tolerance, on both sides. The continuing effort is
migration, ecological change and technological in- worthwhile because it helps to shed light on a large,
novations such as metallurgy. Since there is broad influential and too-little-understood part of the an-
agreement on this issue, archaeological debates fo- cient world.

Mediterranean myopia
RICHARDE. BLANTON*

JOHN BINTLIFF & KOSTAS Owing to recent developments in field methods and
SBONIAS(ed.). Recon- analytical techniques, settlement pattern archaeol-
structing wast wowula-
" I 1 1
ogy has emerged as a powerful methodology able to
fion trends in Mediterranean Europe (Graeme Barker contribute to our understanding of long-term demo-
& David Mattingly (ed.), The archaeology of Medi- graphic and social change. In the Mediterranean,
terranean landscapes 1). xviii+261 pages, 1 4 2 fig- however, this approach has faced considerable op-
ures, 25 tables. 1999. Oxford: Oxbow: 1-900188-62-7 position, has been used unevenly, and has tended
hardback €55 & US$90. to be methodologically diverse. As a result, cross-
PHlLlPPE LEVEAU,F~DERIC T&MENT,KEVIN WALSH regional comparison and broad synthesis making use
& GRAEME BARKER(ed.). Environmental reconstruc- of settlement pattern data have been slow to materi-
tion in Mediterranean landscape archaeology (Graeme alize. The POPULUS project, an EU-funded research
Barker & David Mattingly (ed.), The archaeology of network, was established to overcome these impedi-
Mediterranean landscapes 2). xxii+210 pages, 102 ments. Its participants were charged with develop-
figures, 13 tables. 1999. Oxford: Oxbow; 1-900188- ing a coherent set of research goals, methods, and
63-5 hardback €40 & US$70. standards for Mediterranean European settlement
MARKGILLINGS, DAVIDMATTINGLY & J A N VAN pattern archaeology. POPULUS funding was used
DALEN(ed.). Geographical Information Systems crnd to assemble working parties representing diverse
landscape archaeology (Graeme Barker & David methodological and regional interests and to fund a
Mattingly (ed.), The archaeology of Mediterranean series of colloquia organized by Research Fellows.
landscapes 3). xxi+137 pages, 82 figures, 14 ta- The first product of the colloquia is The archaeol-
bles. 1999. Oxford: Oxbow: 1-900188-64-3 hard- ogy of Mediterranean landscapes, published in five
back €30 & US$50. volumes, each representing a different methodological
MARINELLA PASQUINUCCI & FR~DERIC TR~MENT (ed.). focus. A manual of best practices is forthcoming.
Non-destructive techniques applied to landscape The contents of the five volumes illustrate how
archaeology (Graeme Barker & David Mattingly (ed.), Mediterranean archaeology, after coming around
The archaeology of Mediterranean landscapes 4). rather late to the idea of a regional approach, has
xx+276 pages, 201 figures, 3 tables. 2000. Oxford: emerged as a major world centre of methodological
Oxbow; 1-900188-74-0 hardback E45 & US$75. development for settlement pattern archaeology. To
RICCARDO FKANCUVICH & HELEN PATTERSON (ed). me the most important contribution of the publica-
Extracting meaning from ploughsoil assemblages tion is the rich overview of diverse methodologies
(Graeme Barker & David Mattingly (ed.), The archae- that is made available in one integrated source. Most
ology of Mediterranean landscapes 5). xxii+266 pages, chapters are summaries of work reported in more
133 figures, 1 7 tables. 2000. Oxford: Oxbow; 1-900188- detail elsewhere, but often they provide a useful
75-9 hardback €55 & US$90. introduction to a method and illustrate how it was

Sociology-Anthropology,Purdue University, W. Lafayette IN 47907, USA. blantonr@sri.soc.purdue.edu


ANTIQJITY75 (2001): 627-9

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628 REVIEW

applied in a particular setting. Especially in the areas bitantly costly in view of the scale requirements of
of field procedures, environmental reconstruction, regional study. For example, the hinterlands of sin-
remote sensing,GeographicalInformationSystems,and gle Roman period administrative centres are often
geoarchaeology,recent conceptual and technological in the 50-200 sq. km range, but can extend over 600
advances have resulted in a welcome expansion of sq. km, and a regional system may be made up of
methodological options for the survey archaeologist. multiple interacting territories of this scale. New
Unfortunately, the colloquia organizers did not World Precolumbian and Late Imperial Chinese
fully address the POPULUS agenda, which was ‘to market systems operate in regions consisting of thou-
investigate the feasibility of establishing a common sands or even tens of thousands of square kilome-
series of research goals and standards in Mediterra- tres, involving dozens of integrated market plazas,
nean landscape archaeology so as to advance the and there is no reason to believe that systems of the
study of the ancient demography of the region on a ancient Mediterranean world would have been any
broad comparative front’ (p. iv of the general intro- smaller. Mediterranean nodal regions integrated by
duction by Graeme Barker & David Mattingly). I say upland-lowland symbiosis typically occupy hun-
this because much of the recommended methodol- dreds or thousands of sq. km. But Bintliff (vol. 4)
ogy is not suited to regional-scale research, and, if describes as an example of ‘best practice’ the sur-
adopted, will actually inhibit meaningful compari- vey of northwest Keos by John Cherry and others
son. For the most part, the volumes only serve to that covered only 18 sq. km, except that he recom-
reproduce the prevailing localism of Mediterranean mends further intensifying their method. Bintliff
settlement pattern archaeology. A majority of the would have used standardized transect blocks rather
chapters are stand-alone case studies that describe than field-by-field data recording, to facilitate the
the results of work done in a particular locality, us- comparison of surface densities of pottery. Of course,
ing a specific method, with no attempt to relate what laying down the required grid probably would have
was done to larger theoretically driven research stressed the project’s resources, but cost seems to
questions or comparative issues. Many of the projects be no object in the minds of those who devise ‘best
described mention no research design at all other practice’.
than local culture historical interest or a Cultural As Elizabeth Fentress aptly points out (vol. 5),
Resource Management orientation. the procedures recommended by Bintliff, Millett and
According to Kostas Sbonias (vol. l), there can others, such as transect blocks, counting of all sur-
be a fruitful dialogue between different disciplines face sherds and the gridding and complete surface
interested in demographic issues, but the chapters collection of sites, that allow for the detailed quan-
by historical demographers and palaeoanthropologists tification of surface pottery densities, entail a sig-
included in the first volume (by Malcolm Smith, Tim nificant penalty in limiting landscape coverage (not
Parkin, Eli0 Lo Cascio, Maria Ginatempo and Andrea to mention, as Susan Alcockpoints out (vol. 5),strain-
Giorgi, Machiel Kiel, C. A. Marlow, Claude Masset, ing a project’s ability to process the large number of
and Riccardo Francovich & Kathy Gruspier), while sherds). Fentress mentions two cases illustrating the
interesting, do not venture much beyond their usual results of intensive method: the Boeotia survey (45
methods and sources, and make little or no attempt to sq. km surveyed in 5 years), and the Rieti survey
contribute to the development of new methods for ar- ( 2 2 sq. km surveyed in 3 years). These same inten-
chaeological survey. This is unfortunate, since one of sive methods restricted Stelios Andreou & Kostas
the key methodological issues requiring analytical and Kotsakis (vol. 1) to a roughly 30% coverage of
comparative work is the estimation of population size Langadas, Macedonia, but from these data they in-
from site size, particularly in relation to how conver- fer the overall nature of population trends in the
sion values will vary in time and space, and for differ- region. Any archaeologist who has done full-cover-
ent community types. This issue is addressed by Kostas age survey will tell you how invalid this kind of
Sbonias, John Bintliff, Tony Wilkinson, John Chapman extrapolation is likely to be.
and Frkderic Trement to some degree, but without any While the POPULUS participants emphasized
new insights that could be applied systematically on methods providing greater resolution of data col-
a Mediterranean-wide basis. lection in very small areas, really urgent methodo-
Most of the methodological standardization ad- logical issues were not sufficiently addressed. The
vocated in these volumes aims for an increased reso- methodological requirements for surface survey and
lution in data collection from small areas, usually data analysis in ancient urban contexts is one ex-
‘microregions’ of at most 100 sq. km (but usually ample (e.g.Simon Keay, vol. 5); a regional approach
much smaller), or even single sites. In many cases, entails more than villages, farms and villas. What
the adoption of such methods will be at odds with a methods are most appropriate in upland and other
regional research orientation because they are exor- marginal environments so as to maximize compara-

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REVIEW 629

bility with lowland survey data (e.g. Franco Cambi, from the POPULUS colloquia, Mediterranean research-
vol. 5)? Caroline Malone & Simon Stoddart (vol. 5) ers will employ the intensive methods as a starting-
make the important point that archaeologists should point in their research designs,but will then be restricted
‘prioritize regional survey in those zones where there to comparing ceramic densities of a few scattered vil-
is the optimum coincidence of leading research ques- las, villages or microregions (and will have detailed
tions’; but virtually all of the method chapters and data on the comparatively trivial matter of off-site ar-
case-studies focus on coastal and other lowlands (cf. tefact densities), and will have only a limited ability
Graeme Barker &John Bintliff, vol. 2), even though to address the kinds of issues pertinent to the socio-
upland-lowland symbiosis was a significant factor cultural evolution of complex societies that currently
in the development of regional market systems, po- engage researchers in other world areas.
litical boundaries, labour migration, intercultural Historically, Mediterranean settlement pattern
interaction and inter-group conflict, among other researchers, some of whose methods are now thought
patterns of social interaction found in Mediterra- primitive according to POPULUS logic, addressed
nean complex societies. issues relevant to understanding the causes and con-
To most of the POPULUS participants, the in- sequences of change over time at regional and macro-
creased intensification of survey method in small regional scales of social interaction (I include Alcock,
areas represents an evolution over the ‘old fashioned’ Bintliff, Cherry, Davis, Jameson, Mantzourani,
extensive survey and grab sampling of earlier dec- Ponsich, Potter, Renfrew, Runnels, Wagstaff, Wright
ades (e.g. Susan Alcock, vol5). In some respects this and van Andel, among others). They investigated
is undoubtedly true, depending on one’s research periphery incorporation in world-systems, produc-
question. What is not fully evaluated, however (ex- tion for long-distance trade, the interaction of local
cept in the aforementioned chapter by Fentress), is populations with metropolitan cultures, state for-
the degree to which this so-called methodological mation, imperialism, interregional migration, urban-
progress militates against regional analysis. Inten- rural relations and related topics pertinent to
sive methods may facilitate between-unit compari- understanding the dynamics of complex human so-
son of surface pottery densities, but the areas being cieties. A few chapters in the POPULUS volumes
compared are too small to represent the regional reflect this tradition, most notably those by Martin
systems of which they are a part. True methodological Belcher et a]. (vol. 3), Simon Keay (vol. 5), Franco
development should take place along varied fronts, Cambi (vol. 5), Vince Gaffney et al. (vol. 5) and es-
not just in the direction of higher resolution at small pecially Todd Whitelaw (vol. 5). But as I read the
scales. Extensive survey using a grab sampling method POPULUS volumes, I was impressed with how Medi-
can be done systematically such that it facilitates terranean survey archaeology as a whole has lost
both full coverage of large areas and cross-regional interest in the kinds of large-scale social and demo-
comparison. In Mesoamerican archaeology,a standard graphic processes that engaged earlier researchers
pedestrian survey method (with variations appro- and, instead, now prioritizes high-resolution method
priate to mountain settings) has been developed for over theory and problem orientation. Because so many
the field-by-field full coverage of large regions, and of the recent methodological advances make possi-
many researchers have employed it. One contigu- ble sophisticated environmental and landscape re-
ous area of Oaxaca, Mexico, surveyed according to construction, the theoretical orientation now favoured
this standard method now exceeds 6000 sq. km; by many of the archaeologists featured in the
another survey block in the Valley of Mexico covers POPULUS volumes is a dated environmental and
3000 sq. km; others are currently in progress in low- demographic determinism that had its heyday in an-
land Veracruz and other localities. Correspondingly, thropological archaeology three to four decades ago.
some of the most important issues engaging Meso- This ‘human ecology’, according to Barker & Bintliff
american archaeologists pertain to social, cultural (vol. 2) understands humans in ‘dynamic landscapes’.
and demographic processes found at these large scales This is the rationale for using the more environmen-
of human interaction. Hypotheses stemming from tally determinist phrase ‘landscape archaeology’
the analysis of regional data have been evaluated routinely in the POPULUS volumes, rather than the
by some of these same researchers employing high- ‘regional analysis’, or ‘settlement pattern archaeol-
resolution methods such as systematic surface col- ogy’ more commonly expressed in the literatures of
lection, geophysical prospecting and excavation; but other world regions. It is unfortunate to see Medi-
these have been hypothesis-driven projects focused terranean survey archaeology take such a strong turn
on selected localities, and they represent later stages towards a landscape approach that sees humans
of an overall research programme that has its ori- adapting primarily to local environmental conditions
gins in field-by-field survey and grab sampling. By and in which archaeological method is demoted to
contrast, if they follow the ‘bestpractices’recommended a kind of anthropological geomorphology.

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