Island biogeography has placed excessive emphasis on physical space as a fixed parameter determining colonisation. While geographical characteristics are important, it should be evident at this point and consider islands not just in space but also in time. In practical terms, this entails piecing together the evidence for initial colonisation, abandonment, and recolonisation from the islands and interpreting it in light of the theories. The islands selected to put all this into practice are Kythera; Melos, Kea, and Naxos; Cyprus; Palagrua and Hvar; Ibiza and Formentera; the Aeolian Islands; Malta; Jerba; Pantelleria; Palmarola; and the Tremiti Islands. Some important parallels were identified between the Pitiussae/Balearics and the Lipari and Tremiti islands, in terms of expansion and contraction strategies within an archipelago, and the effects of contingent factors. Focusing on individual islands shows that there are difficulties with establishing whether gaps in the data correspond to actual instances of island-wide abandonment.