Architecture and Storage in Mediterranean Environments: Case Studies from the Aegean and Southern California

Kyle Jazwa*, C.S. Jazwa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper offers a comparative look at the organization of built space and storage for sedentary communities in the world's Mediterranean climatic regions and assesses the variable expressions of certain underlying features that are held in common. Our analysis focuses on two primary case studies: the occupants of the Aegean Sea region from the Neolithic to Roman periods (ca. 6800 BCE-168 CE) and the coastal Chumash of southern California during the Late Period (1300–1782 CE). We show that in both regions, households took advantage of outdoor spaces as productive activity areas during the long periods of favorable weather each year. This incorporation of exterior spaces was typically structured using clear visual cues or architecture. Additionally, surplus food was acquired by individual households and stored to mitigate the inherent risks of interannual variability in precipitation and expected annual periods of lower yield (i.e., winter). Since storage was typically organized at the household level, the domestic architecture often incorporated dedicated space or built facilities to manage this surplus. By understanding such climatic influences on the regions' architecture and storage infrastructure, the distinct cultural qualities of these expressions can be better articulated. While it is not our contention that these attributes manifested identical outward architectural and material forms or were exclusive to Mediterranean environments, we suggest that the environment was an important influence on construction and storage decisions which could be adapted according to the local histories of their respective communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-102
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary International
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021

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