Urban life as we know it in the Mediterranean began in the early Iron Age: settlements of great size and internal diversity appear in the archaeological record. This collection of essays offers for the first time a systematic discussion of the beginnings of urbanization across theMediterranean, from Cyprus through Greece and Italy to France and Spain. Leading scholars in the field look critically at what is meant by urbanization, and analyse the social processes that lead to the development of social complexity and the growth of towns. The introduction to the volume focuses on the history of the archaeology of urbanization and argues that proper understanding of the phenomenon demands loose and flexible criteria for what is termed a 'town'. The following eight chapters examine the development of individual settlements and patternsof urban settlement in Cyprus, Greece, Etruria, Latium, southern Italy, Sardinia, southern France and Spain. These chapters not only provide a general review of current knowledge of urban settlements of this period, but also raise significant issues of urbanization and the economy, urbanization andpolitical organization, and of the degree of regionalism and diversity to be found within individual towns. The three analytical chapters which conclude this collection look more broadly at the town as a cultural phenomenon that has to be related to wider cultural trends, as an economic phenomenon that has to be related to changes in the Mediterranean economy and as a dynamic phenomenon, not merely apoint on the map.Wide ranging in its geographical coverage, this volume will be essential reading for scholars and students of archaeology, settlement studies, the archaic period and geographers interested in the history of urban forms.