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by Archaeology Newsroom

Searching for the Common Cultural Space of Highland Mediterranean: The Case of Rhodope and Catalonia

The ethnographical and archaeological research simultaneously realized in situ in two highland Mediterranean areas, in the framework of a joint project of Greek and Spanish archaeologists, promoted the common characteristics of a particular way of living, of a series of economic and social choices and of ideological features.

The choice of the two mountainous regions is due to the judgment that bygone ways of life and behavior, which have been preserved through the application of specific strategies in such an environment of isolation and recourse, are most appropriate for study. Furthermore, they help the understanding of basic cultural characteristics of the Mediterranean and lead to the detection of the “longue durée” history. The two-year comparative research was carried out in the Pomak village of Sarakini on Mount Rhodope and in the highland district of Alicante in Southern Spain. It included the recording and study of the basic productive activities of the neighboring communities, such as the nomadic cattle-raising and the or¬ganization and use of space. The different versions of a common Mediterranean cattie-raising activity in these areas were pinpointed and studied in their historical and cultural contact. Similar ethno-archaeological research represents only a part of the broader archaeological and anthropological issue that also describes the content of the so-called Highland Archaeology. This scientific field tries to approach through time the organized human presence in Alpine, semi-mountainous and highland regions that exhibit peculiar environmental and cultural features.