CORDIS - EU research results

TranscULturality and social innovation in frontier AReas of pre-Roman Italy

Project description

Mapping human migration and cultural diversity in ancient Etruria

Ancient Etruscans established some of the first true cities in the Italian Peninsula, attracting and trading with peoples from outlying areas. Although these united city-states shared a common language and culture, little is known about their diverse cultural makeup. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the TULAR project will explore human mobility and transculturality in Etruscan populations in their formation phases by examining archaeological evidence at various frontier sites. Using conventional archaeological methods, combined with advanced genetic and isotopic analyses, it will gain insight into the origins of early Etruscan peoples who profoundly influenced Roman and, subsequently, European culture and society. The methodology will also provide a prototype for further studies in the socio-political development of transcultural societies.


Fundamental transitions in societies can be caused by several factors; amongst those, human connectivity can have a pivotal role. The TULAR project focuses on human mobility and transculturality (the coexistence of diverse culture) in archaeological sites, investigating their impact on cultural and political dynamics in ancient populations of pre-Roman Italy. The project will combine traditional archaeology (the analysis of funerary ritual and material culture) and cutting-edge scientific tools (multi-isotope, aDNA and data analysis) to provide a new understanding and novel instruments for interpreting the dynamic of interaction, formation, and development of emerging complex society in the Mediterranean. The Etruscans of pre-Roman Italy are optimally suited to exploring this phenomenon, having woven webs of networks across the peninsula and experienced considerable socio-political changes (e.g. the passage from villages to cities) in their formative phases. TULAR (Etruscan for border) examines principal proto-Etruscan frontier sites, where fluctuation in transculturality is commonplace. Despite all being initially part of the same network, those sites experience diverse cultural and political outcomes, suggesting variation in network development and offering the optimal dataset for the study. TULAR will revise the traditional narrative of the Etruscan civilisation, so important for contacts in temperate and Mediterranean Europe, providing a compelling reworking of our understanding of the European Iron Age. Meanwhile, it will offer a methodological blueprint for studying transculturality and socio-political development globally, framing new directions in research on mobility and its impact on ancient societies.

Funding Scheme



Net EU contribution
€ 172 750,08
40126 Bologna

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Nord-Est Emilia-Romagna Bologna
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Partners (1)