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Land 2017, 6(2), 40; doi:10.3390/land6020040

Landscape Archaeology and Sacred Space in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Glimpse from Cyprus

1
Research Training Group 1878: Archaeology of Pre-Modern Economies, Abteilung für Klassische Archäologie, Institut für Archäologie und Kulturanthropologie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Lennéstr. 1, D-53113 Bonn, Germany
2
Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ioannis N. Vogiatzakis, Theano S. Terkenli, Maria Gabriella Trovato and Nizar Abu-Jaber
Received: 6 May 2017 / Revised: 29 May 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 14 June 2017
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Abstract

This article aims to raise issues for discussion about the change in the use and concept of sacred landscapes, which were originally constructed in the era of the Cypriot kings (the basileis), but then continued to function in a new imperial environment, that of the rule of the Ptolemaic strategos and later of the Roman proconsul and the various Christian bishops. Our archaeological survey project in the Xeros river valley, titled ‘Settled and Sacred Landscapes of Cyprus’, reveals that these new politico-economic structures were also supported by the construction of symbolically charged sacred landscapes. Thus, while outlining the long history of the island as manifested from the diachronic study of Cypriot sacred landscapes, we identify three pivotal phases: first, the consolidation of the Cypriot polities and the establishment of a ‘full’ sacred landscape; second, the transition from segmented to unitary administration under the Ptolemaic and Roman imperial rule and the consolidation of a more ‘unified sacred landscape’; and finally, the establishment of a number of Christian bishoprics on the island and the movement back to a ‘full’ sacred landscape. Moving beyond the discipline of Cypriot archaeology, this contribution aims to serve as a paradigm for the implications that the employment of the ‘sacred landscapes’ concept may have when addressing issues of socio-political and socio-economic transformations. While it is very difficult to define or capture the concept of landscape in a pre-modern world, it offers a useful means by which to assess changing local conditions. We have also attempted to situate the term in archaeological thought, in order to allow the concept to become a more powerful investigative tool for approaching the past. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cyprus; landscape archaeology; sacred space; political power; economy; religion; ideology; ancient sanctuaries; churches Cyprus; landscape archaeology; sacred space; political power; economy; religion; ideology; ancient sanctuaries; churches
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Papantoniou, G.; Vionis, A.K. Landscape Archaeology and Sacred Space in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Glimpse from Cyprus. Land 2017, 6, 40.

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