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Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity

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This volume considers regional approaches to social complexity from a variety of perspectives and at a global scale. John F. Cherry has been a key figure in regional-scale inquiry and broader disciplinary interfaces throughout his career, producing, mentoring, and inspiring a remarkably diverse body of work, which nevertheless remains oriented around this central theme. While Cherry’s work is the inspiration for this volume and the papers within it, this should not be seen as a traditional festschrift, or piecemeal homage to the honorand’s career. Rather, it aims to explore this core concern of regional approaches to society and complexity in comparative perspective, first in the Aegean, then branching out to the wider Mediterranean, New World, and finally reflecting on relevant issues of concern to all archaeologists working at levels above the site.

Published: Jan 1, 2018

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
List of Figures and Tables Alex Knodell, Thomas Leppard
Foreword Colin Renfrew
Preface Alex Knodell, Thomas Leppard
Chapter 1
Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity: Setting an Agenda Alex Knodell, Thomas Leppard
Part I: Pathways to Complexity in the Prehistoric Aegean
Introduction to Part I Alex Knodell, Thomas Leppard
2. The Development of Complex Society on Crete: The Balance between Wider Context and Local Agency Sturt Manning
3. Gelb and Gell in the Aegean: Thoughts on the Relations between 'Writing' and 'Art' John Bennet
4. Prestige-Goods Economies: The Prehistoric Aegean and Modern Northern Highland Albania Compared Michael Galaty
5. Continent, Region, Micro-Region, Site: Settlement Nucleation in the European Neolithic William Parkinson
Part II: Crossing Scales in the Later Mediterranean
Introduction to Part II Alex Knodell, Thomas Leppard
6. Industrial Landscapes, Spatial Politics and Settlement Change in the Roman East Bradley Sekedat
7. Political Borders in Pausanias' Greece Sylvian Fachard
8. Monumental Engagements: Cultural Interaction and Island Traditions in the West Mediterranean Peter van Dommelen, Alexander Smith
Part III: Comparative, Theoretical and Disciplinary Concerns
Introduction to Part III Alex Knodell, Thomas Leppard
9. Does Island Archaeology Matter? Cyprian Broodbank
10. Islands in the Comparative Stream: The Importance of Inter-Island Analogies to Archaeological Discourse Scott Fitzpatrick
11. A Thorny Endeavor: Historical Archaeology and Diachronic, Regional Landscape Survey in the Caribbean Lesser Antilles Krysta Ryzewski
12. Embedded Heterarchies of the Maya: Political Structure and Interactions Inspired by Peer Polity Interaction Thomas Garrison
13. Complexities and Emergence: The Case of Argos Christopher Witmore
14. The Way Things Are... A. Bernard Knapp
15. Tradition and Divide in Archaeological Publication Camilla MacKay
16. Retrospect and Prospect in Regional Archaeology Thomas Leppard, Alex Knodell
Afterword: My Life with John F. Cherry Jack Davis
End Matter
Index Alex Knodell, Thomas Leppard


All the papers here have benefitted from the lucidity and the reflexive attention to method which Cherry has consistently applied and promoted. It is because this volume exemplifies those qualities so effectively, as well as advocating them so coherently, that it will become a landmark publication in the advocacy of good, theoretically robust archaeology, with a respectful approach to the collection and analysis of data.
from the Foreword by Colin Renfrew

A high-quality publication that contains some interesting and insightful papers. Cherry' s career-long emphasis on a comparative approach combined with the work of the editors brings some coherence to the plethora of places and periods touched upon in the individual chapters, and the Introduction and conclusions draw out over-arching themes well. It is certainly a fitting tribute to a sparkling career.

The volume is a large collection of interesting and challenging essays written by some of the most influential scholars in Aegean and Mediterranean archaeology. Its impact on future research agendas on issues of complexity and scales of enquiry in Mediterranean archaeology and beyond is unquestionable.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review