The term ‘colonisation’ has been used rather differently by individual re-searchers over the years, but it has generally been equated to permanent set-tlement. Increasingly, new evidence is leading to a better understanding of the various uses that people make of islands and, consequently, of different forms of colonisation. These data suggest that colonisation in an island context may not necessarily take the form of permanent settlement, as may be considered the norm in a mainland setting. Different kinds of human activity on islands can now be better discerned than in the past, although the degree to which they can be practically separated varies from case to case. A growing body of theory has also contributed to major changes in the concept of insularity.