Book Series LEMA, vol. 2

Conceptualizing Bronze Age Seascapes

Concepts of the Sea and Marine Fauna in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Second Millennium BCE

Mari Yamasaki

  • Pages: x + 218 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:20 b/w, 7 col., 13 tables b/w., 3 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60647-7
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60648-4
  • E-book
  • Available


Mari Yamasaki is an Ancient Near Eastern archaeologist who specializes in the Eastern Mediterranean. Her research focuses on concepts of maritimity and ancient perception of underwater spaces. She completed her PhD on the conceptualisation of the sea in the Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. Since 2023 she is a postdoctoral researcher at the Polish Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw. Her fieldwork includes excavations and surveys in Italy and Cyprus, both on land and underwater.


The Mediterranean has, for millennia, formed the heart of an intensive trading network of ideas, goods, and people. For the ancient populations of the Levant, Cyprus, and Southern Anatolia, interactions with the sea — from fishing to seafaring, and from trade to dye production — were a constant presence in their life. But how did the coastal peoples of the Bronze Age understand the sea? How did living on the shore influence their lives, from daily practices to mythological beliefs? And what was the impact on their conceptual world? This volume seeks to engage with these questions by addressing the relationship between environment, diet, material production, perception, and thought formation through a combination of archaeological analysis and engagement with primary sources, and in doing so, it offers unique insights into the conceptual world of the ancient Mediterranean maritime cultures of the 2nd millennium BCE.




List of Abbreviations

List of Common and Scientific Names of Fish and Molluscs Mentioned in the Text

Part I: Framework

Chapter 1. Introduction


Organization of the Book

Chapter 2. History, Theory, and Methods

State of the Art

Theoretical Framework

Chronological Framework

The Evidence

Part II: Regional Chapters

Chapter 3. Levant

Faunal and Material Cultural Evidence

Textual Evidence


Chapter 4. Cyprus

Faunal and Material Cultural Evidence

Textual Evidence


Chapter 5. Southern Anatolian Coast

Faunal and Material Cultural Evidence

Textual Evidence


Part III: Overarching Analysis

Chapter 6. Concepts of Marine Fauna

Marine Fauna as Food

Fish and Molluscs: Offerings and Purity

Marine Fauna as Status or Commodity

Visual Concepts of Marine Fauna

Chapter 7. Concepts of the Sea

The Sea as a Place

The Sea as a Supernatural Force

The Sea as a Divine Entity

Chapter 8. Conclusions: Concepts of Seascapes

Works Cited