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Islanders (Paperback)

The Making of the Mediterranean

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Art

Imprint: Paul Holberton Publishing
Pages: 104
Illustrations: 60
ISBN: 9781913645496
Published: 1st February 2023



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Accompanying an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, this book explores island identities in the ancient Mediterranean, questioning how ‘insularity’– being of an island – affected and shaped art production and creativity, architectural evolution, migrations and movement of people. It extends beyond the ancient, incorporating current discourses on island versus mainland cultural identities, in contemporary Art and other disciplines.


Throughout history, islands have been treated as distinct places, unlike mainland and continental masses. In geographic terms, islands are merely pieces of land surrounded by water, but the perception of island life has never been neutral. Rather, the term ‘insularity’ – belonging to/being of an island – has been romanticized and associated with otherness. Islands have often been deemed to have different

histories from the mainland and with more readily isolated socio-political, cultural and economic characteristics. Yet connectivity has also been an important feature of island life as the sea can be a linking rather than just a dividing body, motivating and maintaining informal and formal connections.


Fifty unique archaeological objects – most never displayed before outside Cyprus, Crete and Sardinia – tell exceptional stories of insular identity, over a period of 4000 years. The movement of people and episodes of migration between islands and their surrounding mainlands is also explored, through architecture, material culture, crafts and technologies present in the Mediterranean islands.


Islanders has a broad diachronic scope and applies integrative analytical approach, bringing together research findings from scientific fields within archaeology, as well as a multi-scalar approach to past human interaction within continental and island environments.

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