The study of Cyprus's prehistoric and early historic past has been dominated by a tendency to see the island's social, economic, cultural, and even artistic development as the result of migrations, invasions, colonization, diffusion, or other external factors, whether Near Eastern or Aegean (or both) in origin. Such an approach distorts the long‐term history of Cyprus and precludes attempts to consider how insularity and local enterprise impacted on the islanders' identity and the emergence of a complex, hierarchical society. This introductory chapter sets the island of Cyprus in its Mediterranean island context, and provides initial comments on the volume's central themes: insularity, connectivity, and social identity. It summarizes the contents of each chapter and provides brief discussions of previous works that treat island archaeology and history, island identity, and ‘islandscapes’ throughout the Mediterranean world.
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