Magical Mystery Tour The Role of Islands in Connecting Ancient West and East

Louise Hitchcock, Aren M. Maeir, Laura Pisanu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


From an ecological standpoint, islands once held allure as imagined laboratories for the isolated study of social and cultural change. However, in The Corrupting Sea, Horden and Purcell have compellingly demonstrated that in reality islands were places of “strikingly enhanced interaction … central to the history of the Mediterranean.” Although their detailed meta-history focuses on the historic periods, much of what they discuss can be identified in prehistory. Our contribution focuses on the unique role that island-scapes play in shrinking maritime space among the disparate cultures of the Mediterranean, bringing ancient west and east together through cultural and economic entanglement. Through strong interaction, islands could promote security, but in isolation, they could be a source of danger. However, from Sicily to Cyprus, like the Magical Mystery Tour, islands had “everything you need,” because they were connected nodes in a globalized, unrestricted flow of people and goods, the ancient version of capital, where “satisfaction was guaranteed.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConnecting the Ancient World West and East
Subtitle of host publicationFestschrift for Gocha Tsetskladze
EditorsJ Boardman, J Hargrave, A Avram, A. Podossinov
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series



  • Island Archaeology
  • Scapes
  • Sardinian Archaeology
  • Cypriot Archaeology
  • Aegean Archaeology
  • Levantine Archaeology
  • Maritime Archaeology
  • Mediterranean Archaeology


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