chapter  13
41 Pages

Settlement and territory

WithJohn Bintliff

In 1970 Vita-Finzi and Higgs published a challenging and entirely novel proposition for the archaeological community; namely, that human communities throughout history and prehistory practised territorial behaviour in regard to their exploitation of landscapes. We were thereby offered an exciting new methodology for research in the delineation and analysis of such territories-Catchment Analysis (Vita-Finzi and Higgs 1970). Throughout the 1970s, many scholars adopted the technique in widely separated countries around the world, not least a generation of researchers based in the home of this ‘palaeoeconomy’ approach, Cambridge University. However, during the 1980s and into the early 1990s only limited publications have appeared in which territorial theory has been employed by archaeologists, despite a continual growth in interest amongst cultural anthropologists. The reasons for the limited success of the approach are varied, but can broadly be ascribed to philosophical and technical difficulties.