This chapter examines some past contexts for the treatment of movement and culture change in the ancient east Mediterranean and Aegean. It introduces and explains recurring themes and overtones highlighted and engaged with in more specific detail in the individual case studies. Conceptual boundaries related to nation and ethnicity in the region's archaeological discourse have long made objective discussion of ancient population movements difficult. The archaeology of the Aegean region, including evidence for movement, has also been affected by aspects of foreign nationalisms, especially those of northern and western Europe. The ways in which nineteenth- to twentieth-century European nationalism, racism and cultural evolutionism affect models of ancient movement in the Aegean/Mediterranean are impossible to extricate from the discourse of late imperialism. Language-based approaches have a special, long-established place in the study of culture change, including in relation to movement, and have followed wider recent trends in this field, including the use of anthropological analogy.