Straw Boats and the Proverbial Sea: A Response to 'Island Archaeology: In Search of a New Horizon'

Scott, M Fitzpatrick, Jon Erlandson, Atholl Anderson, Patrick Kirch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In a recent ISJ paper, �Island Archaeology: In Search of a New Horizon�, Boomert and Bright (2007) argue that the field of �island archaeology� should be replaced by an �archaeology of maritime identity�. We disagree and counter that although islands share many physical, biological, and cultural similarities with continental coasts, coastal zones also grade uninterruptedly into riverine, lacustrine, and terrestrial landscapes, raising questions about the validity of their concept of the archaeology of maritime identity. In our view, island archaeology (the application of archaeology to island settings), regardless of past biogeographical underpinnings, has made major contributions to understanding the historical ecology, human impacts, and cultural developments of islands around the world. A focus on islands by archaeologists has encouraged scholars to study the history of island and maritime societies within a comparative framework that is useful for breaking out of the often provincial focus on a single island or archipelago.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-238
    JournalIsland Studies Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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