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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the cultural and social history of an area encompassing ancient Epirus, Illyria, Macedonia, and Thrace. In the past, these historical landscapes were usually perceived as cultural or ethnic entities, and were used as arguments for past and modern ethnogenesis in the Balkans. The material culture of single micro-regions shows that these landscapes are culturally neither homogeneous nor consistent, and instead show an impressive diversity in settlement patterns, mortuary ideology, and other cultural attributes. Indeed, cultural affinities between micro-regions of different historical landscapes further challenge perceptions of ethnicity and other forms of social identity as reflecting cultural variability. Conceptualization of northern Greece and the central Balkans as a buffer zone between the Aegean world and continental Europe is another bias that reduces local social agents to recipients of cultural innovation from north and especially south, and overlooks the dynamic processes inherent in local social transformations.

Keywords: landscape, settlement pattern, mortuary behaviour, material culture, identities, colonization, Epirus, Illyria, Macedonia, Thrace

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