Boundaries and the Archaeology of Frontier Zones

Authored by: Mike McCarthy

Handbook of Landscape Archaeology

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781598742947
eBook ISBN: 9781315427737
Adobe ISBN: 9781315427720


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The study of boundaries and frontiers has been an important focus in geopolitical and historical geography and historical studies of social and cultural landscapes for almost a century (Bartlett and MacKay 1989; Jones 1964; Minghi 1970; Parker 2002; Pohl, Wood, and Reimitz 2001; Power 2004). Early geographical and geopolitical studies of borders had to contend with issues such as the relative efficacy of natural versus anthropogenic boundaries, while in recent years geographers have paid particular attention to functional aspects of boundaries and considered their impact on existing societies in modern times. For some historians and geographers, frontiers can also be “processes,” by which is generally meant the changes that take place during a period of colonization transforming a zone from border to heartland (Burns 1989). For politicians and civil servants, the growth of empire building and nationalism, proceeding hand in hand with the rise of map-making agencies and colonial administration, was an increasingly important focus of frontier attention in the 19th and 20th centuries (Given 2004: 70; Lamb 1968; Mellor 1989).

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