CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

From protohistory to history: social change in Italy at the dawn of the Classical world

Final Report Summary - FROMPROTOHISTORY (From protohistory to history: social change in Italy at the dawn of the Classical world)

The project "From Protohistory to History: social change in southern Italy at the dawn of the Classical world" seeks to contribute to the debate on ancient Greek colonisation by (a) addressing the long-term social development of the indigenous populations that interacted with the Greeks using the Gulf of Taranto as a case study. Here the Greeks founded three major colonies between the end of the 8th and the end of the 7th centuries BC (Taranto, Metaponto and Siris); and (b) testing the applicability of a multidisciplinary approach to this contested issue that integrates cultural and biological data.

The project focuses on funerary evidence, embedding it into the broader landscape and settlement context. The choice of funerary evidence was dictated by the fact that it allows the cross-correlation of information about individuals' social identity (status, gender, relations, social roles etc.) as symbolically represented through burial by the community, and their physical state (sex, age, pathologies, kin relations, mobility). A multidisciplinary spectrum of analyses is being applied to two extensive cemeteries of the Taranto Gulf, Incoronata and Santa Maria d'Anglona, which together span the entire Early Iron Age (late 10th to 8th century BC). These analyses include:
1. Typological analyses of grave goods an burial remains (to investigate social representation of the dead);
2. Osteological analyses of human remains (to determine population structure);
3. Morphological and metric analyses of dental remains (to establish variability and thus biological; distance within the population and between populations);
4. Isotopic analysis of tooth enamel (to reconstruct diet and mobility)
5. AMS radiocarbon dating (to establish an absolute chronological sequence for the two cemeteries);
6. Spatial analysis of burials (to examine distributional and diachronic patterning in cemetery structure). The results of these analyses are organised within an integrated GIS-relational database, and queried with the aim of reconstructing gender roles, kinship groups, strategies of social competition, pattens of conspicuous consumption, and how these are linked to foreign connections (via trade and exchange) and individual mobility.

These analyses are not fully completed because of one major change in the research design that occurred in the frst year of the project and caused some delay in the planning of activities. It was discovered that the osteological remains of the Santa Maria d'Anglona necropolis published by Frey (1991) had been discarded after the excavation. The project was adjusted to include the unpublished part of the same cemetery, excavated by the local Soprintendenza (the regional institution for heritage management). Fortunately, funding has been secured in the form of Gerda Henkel Stiftung scholarships, and the project shall be completed within a year from the original plan. Nevertheless, four fieldwork campaigns were organised by Dr. Saltini Semerari, from the VU University Amsterdam, and carried out in collaboration with Hannes Rathmann, an osteologist from the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. On the osteological remains the following analyses were conducted:
7. Sex and age determination (for Santa Maria d’Anglona): The results articulate directly with the study of gender and age identities in the past. In addition, sex and age estimates are used to: (1) provide the basis for population demographic calculations; (2) generate a comparative framework for the study of postmarital residence rules and diet; and (3) mitigate nongenetic factors that could introduce error into the more complex analyses of biological relationships (including postmarital residence analysis and kinship analysis).
8. Determination of postmarital residence rules (for Santa Maria d’Anglona): High-quality geometric morphometric data from human dentitions (Gomez-Robles et al. 2007; Bailey et al. 2014) as well as heritable non-metric dental traits (Alt 1997; Scott and Turner 1997) can be used to infer genetic variability within a population. The sex with the greater variability is assumed to be the more mobile sex, while the sex with the lesser variability is assumed to be the non-mobile, or resident, sex composed of related individuals with similar variance and covariance (Königsberg 1988).
9. Kinship analysis (for Santa Maria d’Anglona): The dental data were subjected to a hierarchical cluster analysis of inter-individual Eucledian distance coeffcients (McClelland 2003). The resulting cluster ordination can identify individuals that closely resemble one another, indicating close familial relationships. Inter-population distance analysis (including Santa Maria d’Anglona and Incoronata): Highquality geometric morphometric data from human dentitions as well as heritable non-metric dental traits can be also used to infer genetic variability between populations. This can point to the degree to which individuals from different communities intermarried. The preliminary results show exciting potential for illuminating both indigenous social organisation and Greek colonisation dynamics. Below, three main results and their implications are briefy described.

Postmarital residence patterns: Our study shows that male variability was about one half larger than female variability. This suggests that the indigenous community of Santa Maria d’Anglona was likely matrilocal, insetad of patrilocal, as held before. The second result concerns the identifcation of two distinct clusters of biologically related individuals (see Fig. 1. section VII). Further comparison with the spatial organisation of the cemetery shall allow us to test the widely held assumption that spatially grouped burials within EIA cemeteries represented distinct kin groups.

Biological similarities between Greek and indigenous communities:
Finally, we compared the indigenous populations of Santa Maria d’Anglona and Incoronata with that of the two Archaic cemeteries of the Greek colony of Metaponto (one urban, one rural) (see Fig.2 3. section VII). These two Metaponto populations were originally analysed by R.
Henneberg (1998), who compared them to two indigenous cemeteries near Rome that post-date the Metaponto sample by ca. 700 years (Lucus Feroniae and Portus Romae). Four main conclusions can be drawn from this analysis. First, there is a signifcant genetic difference between indigenous and Greek populations in the area. This is not surprising and refects our general understanding of the Greek colonization as a process that saw the settlement of peoples from the Aegean to other areas of the Mediterranean including Southern Italy.
Second, the populations from the indigenous sites of Incoronata and Santa Maria d’Anglona show a close genetic relationship. This indicates close contact between the two sites and may be an indication of indigenous cohesion prior to the Greek colonization, at least among prominent coastal sites.Third compared to the two indigenous sites the two Greek cemeteries of Metaponto, surprisingly show greater genetic distance even if they belong to the same site. This may be explained in two ways. First, this may support Osborne’s (1998) idea that Greek colonies were not homogeneous, but were composed by settlers coming from different areas of the Aegean and possibly the Mediterranean. Second, it may also underscore different phases of the colonization process. The chora of the Metaponto colony was occupied at a later stage than its urban nucleus, and it is possible that this later occupation was largely carried out by a second wave of settlers coming from a different area in the Aegean. Finally, the population of Incoronata is biologically closer to Metaponto’s urban population.
The fact that Incoronata is closer to Metaponto than Santa Maria d’Anglona can be explained with its greater geographic proximity. It may be also tentatively connected to the later evidence of ‘mixed’ Greek-indigenous occupation of the site (Denti 2009). The proximity to Metaponto’s urban population (rather than its rural population, as originally hypothesized by Henneberg) may be yet again explained with the diachronic development of the colonization process. Archaeological evidence has indicated that the early phase of colonization, concentrated in nucleated settlements, was one of close interaction and possibly co-existence. Indeed we fnd ‘mixed’ contexts dating to this period in Incoronata and Metaponto itself (Denti 2009, De Siena 1986). Only later, from the end of the 7th century and especially in the course of the 6th century, did borders between the two populations begin to become clear-cut. In the course of this period the Greek colonies acquired a welldefned urban organisation with public and sacred spaces, and expanded into the surrounding territory (Carter 2006). This process has been associated with an increase in the population of the colonies, likely generated by new Greek arrivals. The rural Metaponto population, which our results suggest were less admixed with the indigenous population, is likely associated with this second wave of arrivals. The changed power dynamics between Greeks and indigenes at this later stage of the colonization process would have made admixture more diffcult and unlikely than in the preceding period (Herring 2008). This would explain why admixture is restricted to the urban cemetery of Metaponto.
The results of the projecto clearly show that a broader approach to the Greek colonisation inclusive of indigenous long-term dynamics can substantially improve our understanding. Three points are especially relevant for our interpretation of the Greek colonisation and the continuation of future research. First, shifting the focus to the indigenous populations, which are generally understood in terms of the 'others' with whom the Greek settlers interacted, shows a rich and diverse panorama of traditions and relations that certainly played a role in shaping later contacts. The fact that indigenous populations were matrilocal, at least to a certain degree, carries major implications for our understanding of both local power dynamics and the possibility of intermarriage. It will also help defne, as the studies sample expands, preferential relations between indigenous communities.

The closeness of the two Early Iron Age cemeteries also points to a level of cohesion even between sites located at some distance from each other that was not expected. The existence of close relations between indigenous groups further undermines the idea that a small contingent of Greeks could settle in the area without reaching a previous agreement with its inhabitants. It rather confrms the hypothesis of Yntema (2000) and Burgers (2004) that early Greek settlers integrated within a power landscape shaped by local populations. Second, the results of the comparisons between indigenous and Greek colonies appear to contradict the traditional model of colonisation. Although further study will lend greater chronological defnition to our results, they already show that the inhabitants of the Greek colonies originated from interaction with the indigenous populations and infux of people from different places over long periods of time. This stands in sharp contrast to the idea of uniform enterprises coordinated by the mother cities, but sheds further light into the fuid and complex world of the ancient Mediterranean.
Finally, this research opens important questions about the discrepancies between the biological identity of a community and its self-representation through material culture. Independently from interaction patterns and biological provenances of its inhabitants, the archaeological record shows that a uniform 'colonial culture' was created in Metaponto in the course of the 6th century BC. This has to be understood in the light of regional and Mediterranean-wide dynamics, and spurs further research towards understanding the processes of selection of collective memories and the construction of distinct identities through time.