6. Conclusion

The general narrative of the ancient Peloponnese is one of Hellenistic decline followed by a Roman-period return to a more dispersed settlement pattern (Alcock 1993, 62-3, 65; Corvisier and Suder 2000, 112-17; Reger 2007, 467; Stewart 2013a, 95-9). By placing labour alongside settlement in our thinking it is possible to paint a more nuanced picture that suggests people are not just inhabiting that landscape in different ways, they are exploiting it differently as well, and in turn that must have significant knock-on effects for our understanding of storage and transport systems in this period. This has important consequences for understanding the relationship between material remains and palaeodemographic change. Approaching landscape through the lens of labour and production is useful only if it stands alongside current approaches. Survey data is, generally, indistinct: it is only in the aggregate that it begins to shed light on the inhabited character of the rural past. Exploring patterns of human action within this broader framework of labour, density and mobility will allow us to improve our understanding of the relationship between survey data and agricultural lifeways, not just in the Peloponnese, but across the Mediterranean.


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