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TMA 25

Sukè. About the meaning of the fig in Greek subsistence

E.Ch.L. van der Vliet

This paper explores the place of fig cultivation and consumption in the subsistence economy of classical Greece. It departs from the physical conditions determining the growth of figs (soil, climate, temperature, rainfall). Furthermore specific aspects of fig cultivation are described: the propagation of the trees, fertilization and fruition, yield rates, and nutritional value. Immediate written information of the technical aspects of fig cultivation in classical Greece is sparse and limited in content. Evidence from inscriptions seems to show a particular combination of the growth of fig trees with vines on rented sacred lands, and perhaps also on privately owned lands. Against this background remarks on figs in literary texts are evaluated. Finally, an attempt is made to compare fig cultivation in ancient Greece and more recent practices in traditional Greek agriculture.

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The Greek temple as a testcase for peer polity interactions

Olaf Satijn

Mainstream archaeology postulates a correlation between the increase in material culture and the growing competition and communication between Greek communities since the end of the Dark Ages. The rise of the Greek temple in connection with the grow of the poleis is seen as an important aspect of this idea. The temple is seen as an important medium for poleis to communicate symbolically and especially to compete. But the exact workings of this mechanism have not yet been elaborated upon. It is the goal of this article to investigate these interactions between polities and especially the role of the temple in the framework of the ‘peer polity interaction’ model. The idea of this study is to investigate whether the concept of peer polity interaction can define the material developments and interactions in the early Greek temple. Concretely it tries to investigate if the developments in the Greek temples and the temple sites are in accordance with the positive statements about innovations and interactions which according to Renfrew, in his introduction to the model, can be tested in a culture wherein peer polity interactions are the determining factor in cultural transformations. For this purpose, information about all known Greek temples dating to the late Dark Ages until about 550 BC have been collected and put into a database. Typological and dimensional similarities between elements of the temples have been investigated as a working hypothesis to determine which temples, and possibly their communities, might have influenced each other and thus might have interacted. Put into the geographical and political situation between the communities, these data enable to pinpoint which aspects of the model do seem to work and which aspects work less or not at all. As predicted, most but not all aspects and workings of the model could be investigated and verified. Notably the initial primacy of the poleis in the interactions between temple communities, as the ‘peers’ in title of the theory, can be corroborated in this hypothetical construction. In the analysis the ‘where’ and ‘between whom’ of innovations and interactions could mostly be determined, but the distinction between the kinds of interaction (competition, symbolic entrainment, emulation) proved in most cases to be more difficult.

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Villanovan Culture: equal rights for everyone?

Yvonne Miranda Boonstra

This article forms a summary of the results of my research concerning the social organization of the complex Villanova culture, based on grave evidence from Tarquinia in Etruria en Sala Consilina in Campania. It especially focuses on the presupposition that in the first Villanovan period the community was not differentiated, whereafter in period II a hierarchical society was developed with so-called principesche or chiefs. This doesn’t seems to be completely true, because on the necropoleis was as early as period I a vertical hierarchy present. Attention is also given to the status of the female, which had very long been neglected in the traditional androcentric archaeology. In this article it is argued that also females could acquire a high status and at least some of them, especially the females with grave-objects related to cultic activities, were independent of their male kin.

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Small barter of mutual understanding?

Wieke de Neef

The colonial movement of Greeks in southern Italy was a pluriform phenomenon. In this study, a comparison between two regions in Basilicata and Campania is made, based on the landscape, the presence of indigenous Iron Age communities and the initial founding of the colonies Metapontion and Poseidonia. Metapontion and its taking possession of a territory seemed to have been a success form the very beginning around 600 BC, whereas rural settlement around Poseidonia seemed to flourish only from the 4th century onwards. Could this difference be explained by the strong presence of evenly dispersed Iron Age communities in the colonized regions of the Metapontino?

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TMA 26 – Artefacten, Methoden en Opgravingen

About tents and fringes: Vasedecorations and the Sibaritide

M. Kleibrink

On the basis of their pottery and decorative style a cultural unity may be postulated for the people living in Calabria (Southern Italy) during the Early Iron Age. The Oenotrians, as the Greeks probably later called them, used, next to impasto kitchen wares, also pale yellow or beige pots manufactured by hand of depurated clay and decorated with a matt paint. The earliest classes of matt-painted pots discerned by Yntema and others show friezes with triangles followed in the next period by ‘tent’ patterns. In the Sibaritide in the Early Geometric period, next to imported ‘a tenda’ pots, a local imitation was made: the ‘simple tent’ motif. Later on, during the Middle Geometric period the potters in the Sibaritide developed the ‘fringe’ decoration, which probably was associated with weaving. Kantharoi with fringe decoration in the formal burials of males as well as loom weights decorated with the same animals as found on the pots in rich female tombs, indicate, among other things, that the decoration styles were connected with an aristocracy which formed itself in Oenotrian society during the 8th century BC.

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The Changing role of Mycenaean Pottery in Italy

Gert Jan van Wijngaarden

Pottery made in Greece during the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1600-1100 BC), has been found widely distributed in the central Mediterranean. Within the general distribution pattern, three periods can be distinguished, coinciding with Late Helladic I-II (LH I-LH II); LH IIIA-LH IIIB and LH IIIB-LH IIIC respectively. In this article, the role of Mycenaean pottery in the indigenous material culture is investigated. During the first period, a wide range of Aegean wares and pot shapes occur in the central Mediterranean. According to their contexts, the imported nature appears to have been important for the social role of these vessels. This indicates that they constituted symbolic references to overseas relationships. In the second period, a much narrower range of Mycenaean wares are present, which are to a large extent concentrated at a few central places. The distribution of these vessels appears to have been controlled and they played a role in social and cultural competitions between sites. Mycenaean pottery dating to the third period covers a wide range of pot shapes. Vessel types that can be related to consumption of food and drink are usually concentrated in structures indicative of a certain status and wealth. This shows that not so much their imported nature, but their function was of consequence for their use and appreciation. It is probably for this reason that by this time substantial quantities of Mycenaean pottery were produced locally in the central Mediterranean.

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A Debate on Chronologies

Bert Nijboer

One of the main problems of Mediterranean Archaeology is the chronology from the Late Bronze Age to the Orientalising period (1200 to 700 BC). The present chronological framework reflects the subordination of indigenous cultural phases to imports from regions with a ‘high culture’ such as Egypt, Mycenae, the Near East or Greece. These imports determine the absolute chronology of the local arrangements even though the imported goods function outside their original context while their biography is hardly known. Especially during a period in which gift exchange for high value goods such as the overseas imports was prevalent, one does not know how long these goods circulated before they were deposited. Moreover, mixed assemblages with local goods and some securely dated imported artefacts are extremely rare during the period 1200 to 800 BC. The danger of a circular argument is manifest and thus one can detect a clustering of events during the 8th century BC when interregional contacts became once more firmly established. However, the interval between Mycenaean imports during the 14th and 13th centuries BC and the recovery of transmarine trade during the 8th century BC is distinguished by scarce overseas contacts. This contributes to scattered regional chronologies based on stylistic sequences with hardly any sound relation in terms of absolute years. Therefore it is not recognized by archaeologists working with these centuries that ‘the search for absolute chronology is like crossing a minefield sown with hidden dangers, among them legendary events, relicts of records, preconceived expectations and archaeological misinterpretations. One may attempt, but not necessarily expect to reach the other side in safety’ (Hankey 1988, 33-34). Especially Italy is in a curious position because southern Italy is securely related to the Mediterranean chronology while northern Italy is attached to the chronology of central Europe. As such it is stuck between the traditional ‘historical’ chronology of the Aegean and the adjusted absolute chronology of central Europe. The new chronology for central Europe is based on 14C (radiocarbon) and dendrochronological measurements. It has replaced the previous chronology based on stylistic sequences. Recent chronological research has resulted in several dissimilarities between the traditional Mediterranean chronology and the adjusted, absolute chronology of central Europe. This paper intends to add reference points for the transition of Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age by presenting high quality dates from Italy and Carthage. These dates confirm that the new chronology of central Europe for the 9th and 8th centuries BC is also valid for the Mediterranean.

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Comparing Ordinary Crafts Textile and Pottery Production in Roman Asia Minor

Jeroen Poblome

In this paper a framework of description for pottery and textile manufacturing in Roman Asia Minor is presented. By mapping artisanal production in antiquity, its specific, but generally underestimated contribution to the ancient economy can be approached. The regulatory factors and production organization of both crafts are remarkably similar, and should be placed against the agricultural background of a pre-industrial society. In this way, interdisciplinary archaeological research may be a player of increasing importance in the chess game of the ancient economy.

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Chartago: Excavations of the University of Amsterdam in 2000 and 2001

Roald Docter

This contribution deals with the first results of rescue excavations in the ancient city of Carthage, where the author directed an international team of the University of Amsterdam in 2000 and 2001. Main contribution of the excavation lies in a better understanding of Carthage’s topography during the 8th till the 5th centuries BC. A large industrial quarter with heavy presence of advanced iron working was found just south of a densely built residential quarter of this same period, excavated by the University of Hamburg. In between, a city wall can be postulated. It is suggested here that this wall can be identified with a double wall documented in the excavations of the German Archaeological Institute in the Rue Ibn Chab?at (casemate-wall). Carthage would, thus, have show a typical Levantine city model consisting of an Upper and a Lower Town separated by an industrial and market area.

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Uit de lucht gegrepen: de bijdrage van archeologische luchtfotografie in
het “Potenza Valley Survey” project

Frank Vermeulen

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