Islands Out of Time
Towards a Critique of Island Archaeology
Keywords:islands, Anglo-American thought, archaeologists, island societies
Island biogeography was developed in the 1960s but derives from a long heritage of treating islands as distinct and special places when compared to continental situations. The ancestry of such views can be traced through western literature since the 16th century and, it is proposed here, has led to a bias against island peoples in Anglo-American thought. In this paper the bias is traced through popular literature, anthropology and on to its incorporation in contemporary island archaeology. In conclusion, it is proposed that island archaeologists - whether they work in the Mediterranean, the Pacific, the Caribbean or elsewhere - need to relinquish this inheritance and look to alternative ways of understanding in order to develop an even-handed and more appropriate interpretation of island societies in the past.
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