04 - Maritime Connectivity and Mobility in the Southeastern Aegean during the Neopalatial Period: A GIS-based Approach


Nick Bowman, University of Haifa


Recent studies of Mediterranean maritime connectivity have improved upon earlier approaches that conceived of the sea as an undifferentiated, isotropic surface by considering variables beyond pure distance. These approaches have sought to assess the influence of environmental and cultural variables acting on the lives of ancient mariners and the structure of maritime networks. Similarly, this study seeks to balance these considerations by comparing connectivity and mobility between Crete and Rhodes during the Neopalatial period. The least-cost path analysis (LCPA) employed by this study and created using geographic information systems (GIS) weighs the potential for ancient maritime travel, connectivity, against the actualized movement of people, mobility, by approximating travel times and likely routes and by assessing ceramic assemblages, respectively. These complementary analyses reveal correlations between connectivity and mobility, but also stark divergences, indicative of when factors beyond environmental affordances played a decisive role in shaping the maritime movement of people, goods, and ideas. One such notable divergence is observed for nearly all easterly routes embarking from western or central Crete bound for Rhodes, Anatolia, and much of the eastern Mediterranean during the most favorable months of travel. This discrepancy calls into question the intensity and nature of interactions that western and central Cretan centers had with those on the eastern extent of the island and Rhodes during the Neopalatial period. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the continued need to refine maritime connectivity models by incorporating a variety of material cultural data sets indicative of actualized mobility.