The Goddess Theory:
The Goddess and women in Minoan Crete
The ‘Goddess Theory’ is a feminist and pseudo-archaeological theory regarding the perceived prominence and power of goddesses and women in Prehistory. Supporters of this theory believe women fulfilled a central role in daily, religious and spiritual life of several prehistorical societies. Minoan Crete is one of the subjects in this theory. It is perceived as a peaceful, naturecentered, equal and joyous society, where people lived in harmony with the Goddess. The Goddess Theory is partly based on archaeological and anthropological findings. In this article the theory is reviewed and compared to the archeological record, and the ways in which archaeologists deal with followers of the theory will be discussed.
Living the past through tribal traditions:
Messapian cult places in the 6th – 3rd centuries BC
Theoretical studies that focus on the development of indigenous societies of Southern Italy in general and the Messapian world in particular are still somewhat of a rarity, despite the recent increase in archaeological research in these regions. While the growing body of indigenous archaeological material has resulted in several attempts to unravel the obscurities surrounding indigenous gods and rituals, spatial and functional analyses of their cult places on a more regional level are virtually absent. This paper reflects on and summarizes part of my MA thesis, in which I attempt to contribute to our understanding of these pre-Roman cult places, focussing on the functions of Messapian cult places within the context of their own indigenous society. Increasing regional (tribal) integration in religious contexts and political and economic centralisation on a local level, paradoxically, seem to have developed simultaneously in Messapia. Somehow, we should interpret these phenomena not as contradictory but as complementary. A sociological approach allows for a multi-levelled explanation.
New Perspectives on Ancient Pottery:
A research project of the Amsterdam Archaeological Centre
The article offers an introduction to a large research project (2 senior researchers, 6 PhD-candidates and support staff) which recently started at the archaeology department of the University of Amsterdam. The project hopes to present innovative ways of processing and studying Mediterranean ceramic finds, while at the same time reducing the backlog of several Dutch field work projects (Satricum in Italy, Halos and Zakynthos in Greece) and answering some relevant local and general research questions starting from pottery. All this also implies reflection on the methods and techniques of pottery studies, exploring new ways in data processing and the use of analytical methods. Moreover, NPAP also looks at the possibilities offered by comparing material and research methods from the regions where it is active. For information about the project or even to join in, its secretary can be contacted at email@example.com.
Towards a more comprehensive approach to issues of visibility in archaeological surveys.
This article is an exploration of the problems concerning surface visibility in archaeological field surveys. It discusses several methods used in survey projects to deal with surface visibility. It also discusses the results of experimental research concerning visibility. Furthermore it contains a statistical analysis of the data of the Sibaritide survey carried out between 2000 and 2008 by archaeologists of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology in Calabria, Italy.
Settlement dynamics in the Sibaritide (Calabria, Italy) and northwest Crimea (Ukraine), a comparison of the impact of the colonial environment on settlement and society
This paper is a contribution to a comparison of settlement dynamics in Greek colonial environments in two very different parts of the Greek oikumene. The comparison is based on field data collected in two projects that the Groningen Institute of Archaeology is involved in. One environment is that of the Sibaritide in South Italy; the other is the Tarchankut Peninsula in northwest Crimea. These environments, with widely differing landscapes and unique indigenous constitutions, are seen to be impacted in very different ways by Greek colonial endeavours with very different results. Nonetheless, the material record shows that in each environment a common cultural property was developed and shared by Greeks and non-Greeks.
TMA 44 – Archaeology and the Roman Economy
Archaeology and the Roman Economy
Introduction to this issue’s theme and articles
Pompeian standard of living:
A positive assessment from bronze and iron consumption data
Modern society is fascinated by the luxury of the Romans. But has the wealth of the few been unjustly equated with society as a whole? What was the standard of living for the average Roman citizen? Questions about standard of living are not new – but calculating GDP and per capita incomes leaves much to be desired. It is argued that archaeological artefacts can be utilised to determine the relative wealth of the people who consumed them. To see if luxury goods, in this case those made out of bronze (copper alloys) and iron, made their way to the masses, household floor assemblages from six houses in the Insula of Menander at Pompeii are analysed. People from different socio-economic levels of society are represented as each house varies in size – from 25m2 to 1,830m2. Results suggest that there were people with modest means who lived above subsistence.
The production of oil and wine on Roman farms in Adriatic Central Italy
This paper focuses on the potential contribution of wine and olive oil production in the agrarian economy of Adriatic central Italy between the Late Republic and the Early Empire. The study area assessed in this paper includes the Marche and northern Abruzzo. The author discusses the available archaeological evidence in the countryside related to the manufacture of wine and olive oil. The archaeological contexts have been classified according to their archaeological visibility and preliminary geographic and chronological patterns are presented. The processes of vinification and oil-extraction are then discussed through an analysis of the best documented pressing facilities.
A study of site-complexity and site-evolution in the hinterland of Antium (Lazio, Central-Italy)
As part of the author’s dissertation, intensive surface surveys were carried out in the municipality of Nettuno (Lazio, Central Italy). These saw the total sampling of four sites that were previously identified during the (regular) surveys carried out within the framework of the Carta archeologica del comune di Nettuno-project (2004-2006) of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology. On these sites, the use of a small-grained grid system (4x 4 metres) allowed a more accurate study of intra-site chronological and functional evolution. The study as a whole widens the interpretational possibilities for sites in our inventory and provides valuable information on processes disturbing the original morphology of sites. In this article the author discusses the results for two of the studied sites.
The Construction of Public Buildings in Roman Italy 225 B.C. – A.D. 425:
A conjectural approach
Socioeconomic archaeologists and historians are often interested in the reconstruction of conjectures of past production and consumption, as such conjectures may provide us with better insights into the structure, scale and nature of the ancient economy and inform us about levels of prosperity. In this article the author has teamed up with this school of thought, and has constructed a conjecture of public constructions in Roman Italy for the period between 225 BC and AD 425. The reconstruction of this conjecture was essentially achieved by placing many (dated) occurrences of public constructions from a large dataset by Hélène Jouffroy (Jouffroy 1986) in a chronological order. Because of some methodological improvements such a thing could be done with far greater precision and much more data than in past assessments of the data by, amongst others, Hélène Jouffroy and Richard Duncan Jones (Duncan Jones 1974;1990). In addition the author discusses and counters various possible biases in both the data and his method and presents the reader with some interpretative concepts, most notably ‘the temporality of consumption’. Though a conjectural approach from its outset is economic, the author interprets his results not solely from an economic perspective but firstly from within the socio-cultural and political context of euergetism. In his article Frits Heinrich shows that the number of new public constructions in Italy reached its zenith during Augustus’ reign, while the enjoyment of the services public buildings offered may have been greatest during the reign of Antoninus Pius. He furthermore shows, as far as public constructions are concerned, that that which is usually referred to as the ‘third century crisis’ seems to commence as early as the second half of the second century A.D.