Abstracts - The British School at Rome

Collapse or Survival? Micro-Dynamics of Crisis, Change, and Socio-Political
Endurance in the First-Millennium BC Central Mediterranean
Sainsbury Lecture Theatre, The British School at Rome
20 June 2014
The aim of this workshop is to explore localized phenomena of crisis, unrest and survival in
the central Mediterranean during the first millennium BC.
Until now, scholars working on this area and period have given relatively little attention to
the impact of social change and instability on ‘‘alternative’’ social agents such as women,
children, slaves, the elderly, and the sick, and how such people resisted the most dramatic
consequences of collapse.
This workshop seeks to provide novel definitions of ‘‘collapse”, and to reconsider traditional
definitions of crisis and social change, by taking a broader perspective that is not centred on
the elites. The central Mediterranean during the first millennium BC offers a unique vantage
point for exploring collapse and its effects from a long-term archaeological perspective: it
was a major convergence point where states rose and fell, long-distance networks
developed and disintegrated, and patterns of human mobility stimulated cultural change at
different rates. A wealth of highly-contextualized material evidence can cast new light on the
agency of the individuals and groups who dealt with crisis situations in different
geographical and temporal settings.
Individual papers analyse how elite and non-elite social agents responded to socio-political
rupture, unrest, depopulation, economic crisis, the disintegration of elite and kinship
systems, interruption in long-term trade networks, and destruction in war. From an
interdisciplinary perspective, this discussion will enhance our understanding of the
breakdown of socio-political systems and its impact on the micro-level, from a cross-cultural
Among our key questions are:
(1) How can ‘‘collapse’’ be defined? Is it appropriate to use this term for micro–
phenomena of crisis taking place in a wider contexts where extensive destruction is
not visible in the archaeological record? What kinds of archaeological evidence can
be considered indicative of collapse events?
(2) Can we move away from traditional understandings of collapse by looking at
marginal contexts or social agents other than elite men?
(3) What are the advantages of looking at potentially very different situations of crisis
occurring in different geographical areas and time settings?
(4) How can we combine different kinds of evidence (e.g. faunal and bioarchaeological
data, burial evidence, historical, written and epigraphic sources) and different
analytical methods (e.g. archaeometry, bioarchaeological analysis, statistical
analysis) to provide either an overarching understanding of collapse in a specific
micro–phase or to illuminate aspects of social change that are undervalued by
traditional scholarship?
Workshop programme
9.30 - 10
10 - 10.15 WELCOME
CHAIR: Prof. Ruth Whitehouse (University College London)
10.15 - 10.55 Dr Claudia Lambrugo (Università degli Studi di Milano), Silvia
Amicone (University College London) and Lars Heinze (Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt am
Main): Back to Manfria Farm: Continuity or disruption in the countryside of Gela in the fourth
century BC
10.55 - 11.25 Prof. Dr. Monika Trümper (Freie Universität Berlin): Crisis and collapse in
Morgantina after 211 BC - A reassessment
11.25 - 11.55 COFFEE BREAK
CHAIR: Dr Corinna Riva (University College London)
11.55 - 12.55 Dr Elisa Perego (British School at Rome & University College London)
and Dr Rafael Scopacasa (UFRN & Exeter): Ideological obsolescence, faltering powers
and accelerated socio-political change: Case studies from Iron Age Italy
13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH
CHAIR: Dr Stéphane Bourdin (École Française de Rome)
14 - 14.30 Dr Frank Daubner (Universität Stuttgart): Continuity and change in
Macedonian society after the Roman conquest
14.30 - 15 Dr Maurizio Buora (Società Friulana di Archeologia) and Dr Stefano
Magnani (Università degli Studi di Udine): Forms of interaction and integration between
indigenous and Roman settlers in the territory of Aquileia during the second and
first centuries BC
COFFEE BREAK 15 - 15.30
15.30 - 16 Dr Guy Bradley (Cardiff University) Fluidity, mobility and social crisis in archaic
central Italian élites
16 - 16.30 Dr Vera Zanoni (Università degli Studi di Pavia) Oltre la tomba. Crisi e
continuità nei contesti funerari ellenistici della necropoli del Calvario (Tarquinia, VT)/ Beyond
the graves. Crisis and continuity in the Hellenistic funerary contexts from the Calvario
cemetery (Tarquinia, VT)
16.30 - 17 Prof. Mariassunta Cuozzo (Università degli Studi del Molise) Dialettica
interculturale, dinamiche di interazione e resistenza nelle comunità della Campania al
passaggio tra Prima età del Ferro e Orientalizzante
17. 30 - 18.30 ROUND TABLE
19 - 20 DRINKS
List of Abstracts
Fluidity, mobility and social crisis in archaic central Italian élites
Guy Bradley (University of Cardiff)
This paper aims to connect up some recent ideas on élites from cross cultural comparisons,
and see how far this might allow us to present some new ideas and models for central
Italian elites. In particular, recent work on medieval and early modern aristocracies has
revealed the extent to which they were sustained by, and continually generated, their own
myths of primordial longevity (e.g. Doyle, Aristocracy 2010). Secondly, scholarship on
archaic Greece has argued that the evidence suggests a continual struggle for superiority
amongst elite which was very precarious in its status (e.g. Duplouy, Le Prestige des
Élites 2006). This paper argues that like other comparable examples central Italian elites
were characterised by mobility and flexibility, however much they strove to conceal this,
were dynamic rather than rigidly ordered over the long term, and underwent continual
transformations wrought by the rapid changes of the first millennium BC: a sort of perpetual
‘social crisis’.
Forms of interaction and integration between indigenous and Roman settlers in
the territory of Aquileia during the second and first centuries BC
Maurizio Buora (Società Friulana di Archeologia) and Stefano Magnani (Università degli
Studi di Udine)
The foundation of Aquileia in 181 BC marked a great transformation in both the sociopolitical context and the territorial organization of north-eastern Italy. The comparison
between the literary and historical documentation, the epigraphic evidence, and the results
of archaeological research, allows us to reconstruct some of the main directions of the
processes of socio-political evolution taking place in this area, disclosing a complex and
varied situation. The foundation of the colony occurred in a social environment and in a
context of dispersed settlement; the local social components, however, show a considerable
resistance and capability to preserve aspects of their own identity, which allowed them to
maintain peculiar features both in their linguistic use and in forms of material culture until
the Augustan age, or maybe even a little later. At the same time, we can detect an
extremely articulated process of assimilation and integration that followed diversified paces
for different social groups: the immediate Romanization of some local élite members is
accompanied by evidence of the slower acculturation of the substrate, in which the native
element is perhaps enriched by the influx of individuals and families from Venetic centres.
Some important indicators are represented by grey pottery and fibulae, whose circulation
and typological development can be traced, so as to shed light on interesting phenomena of
integration and variation of the previous forms; these phenomena of integration/variation
are attested until a later persistence in the Augustan-Tiberian period, within a general
process of homogenization to the Roman world.
Forme di interazione e integrazione tra elementi indigeni e coloni romani nel
territorio di Aquileia, tra II e I secolo a.C.
La fondazione di Aquileia nel 181 a.C. nelle estreme propaggini dell'Italia nord-orientale ha
segnato indubbiamente l'avvio di una forte trasformazione nel contesto socio-politico e
nell'assetto territoriale. Il confronto tra la documentazione storico-letteraria, le attestazioni
epigrafiche e i risultati delle ricerche archeologiche consente di ricostruire alcune delle
principali linee evolutive, delineando una realtà complessa e variegata. La fondazione della
colonia sembra avvenire in una situazione sociale e insediativa apparentemente rarefatta, le
cui componenti, tuttavia, denotano una considerevole capacità di resistenza e conservazione
che consente il mantenimento di alcune peculiarità nell'uso della lingua e nelle forme della
cultura materiale fino all'età augustea o forse poco oltre. Parallelamente, si assiste a un
processo di assimilazione e integrazione estremamente articolato e che segue ritmi e tempi
diversificati, così che a un rapido effetto di romanizzazione di alcuni membri delle élites locali
si affiancano segnali di una più lenta acculturazione del sostrato, dove l'elemento indigeno è
forse arricchito dall'afflusso di individui e nuclei familiari provenienti dai centri venetici.
Alcuni indicatori di rilievo sono costituiti dalla ceramica grigia e dalle fibule, di cui è possibile
seguire la diffusione e lo sviluppo delle tipologie, con interessanti fenomeni di integrazione e
variazione di precedenti locali, fino alle ultime persistenze in epoca augusteo-tiberiana,
nell'ambito di un processo di generale omogeneizzazione del mondo romano.
Continuity and Change in Macedonian Society after the Roman Conquest
Frank Daubner (University of Stuttgart)
The measures taken by the Romans after their victorious war against king Perseus and the
Macedonians in 168–167 BC brought with them the nearly complete elimination of the
former Macedonian élites, a situation which is very different from all the other Roman
provinces, where the groups which supported the Romans were usually able to take over
the administration without problems. By contrast, most Macedonian élite members died in
the battle, were deported to Italy or escaped to other countries. I will therefore present
some proposals about the controversial questions of who left Macedonia and where they
went. The other topic I will outline is that of survival on the Macedonian spot: the
heterogeneous groups which remained or immigrated after the collapse and formed the
populace of Macedonia – Macedonians, Greeks, Thracians, Illyrians, Asians, Italians and
Romans – developed an overall “provincial” identity in contrast to the remains of the
“Macedonian” identity – the latter surviving in remote mountain areas which remained free
and were not included in the Roman province.
Back to Manfria Farm: continuity or disruption in the countryside of Gela in the
4th century BC
Claudia Lambrugo (Università degli Studi di Milano); Silvia Amicone (UCL); Lars
Heinze (Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt am Main)
This research focuses on a 4th century BC rural complex in Manfria, a site that is situated 12
km west of Gela (CL): the so-called Manfria farm was excavated by D. Adamesteanu in
December 1951, with preliminary results published in "Notizie Scavi" in 1958. After a period
of silence regarding the territory of Gela, studies conducted over the last years have
provided new stimuli for the study of the chora of this important Greek colony; some of this
new research focused on the rural population during the 4th century BC, a period that
witnessed many important changes in south central Sicily as a result of the Carthaginian
invasion, and a new wave of colonisation under the Corinthian general Timoleon. On the
basis of historical evidence, the general consensus seems to be that, after the destruction
inflicted on the area by the Carthaginians at the end of the 5th century BC, the city of Gela
and its chora (and also the territories of other Sicilian settlements) were left largely deserted
until the second half of the 4th century BC. However, recent studies have challenged this
version of the history for south central Sicily in the 5th/4th century BC. By focusing on a
typological and chronological study of pottery assemblages deriving from the Manfria farm,
the present paper will explore dynamics of survival or disruption in a territory heavily
affected by warfare.
Faltering Powers and Accelerated Change: Case Studies from Iron Age Italy
Elisa Perego (British School at Rome & UCL) and Rafael Scopacasa (UFRN & Exeter)
How do élites defend their authority in times of socio-political crisis, and what role do
marginalised or non-élite individuals play in these situations? This paper examines different
episodes of “legitimacy crisis” from the vantage point of Iron Age Italy (tenth-fourth
centuries BC), where the rich funerary record allows us to explore a wide range of élite
strategies in periods of accelerated social change, from both a long term perspective and at
the micro-scale. In light of case studies from Veneto (north) and Samnium (south), the
paper discusses some of the ways in which élites across the peninsula used funerary display
(including cemetery layout and ritual violence potentially directed against non-élite or
marginal subjects) to bolster their status in times of instability resulting from several social
and technological innovations, including the development of new production technologies.
Special attention will be given to situations where different (and sometimes contradictory)
legitimising strategies were adopted at the same time, and to cases where a “delay” may be
identified between the rate of social change and élite responses to such change – leading to
what we might call “ideological obsolescence”. The results will deepen our understanding of
the changing relationship between élites and excluded social groups in ancient
Mediterranean societies in the long-term.
Crisis and Collapse in Morgantina after 211 BC - A Reassessment
Monika Trümper (Freie Universität Berlin)
The capture of Morgantina by the Romans in 211 BC is commonly reconstructed as a
catastrophic event with dramatic consequences for the city: the entire population
presumably left, and was substituted by Spanish mercenaries; the city, while continuously
inhabited into the 30s BC, saw a major decline and reduction in size. This paper reassesses
the notion of crisis and collapse after 211 BC, based on different sources. First, recent
excavation of a Greek public bath building in the westernmost quarter of the city (Contrada
Agnese, 2013 season, co-directed by myself) has provided evidence of abandonment and
partial brief reuse of the bath furnace as a large-scale cooking facility. Although the material
still awaits final assessment, the significant change in use may be linked to the events of
211 BC, and thus would confirm that this remote quarter was not systematically occupied by
the new settlers. Second, recent research on the post-211 BC phase (publications; my
assessment of domestic architecture/bathing culture) provides, however, a more nuanced
picture of which parts of the city were reused and how. While the general picture of
regression is not challenged, it is argued that some inhabitants must have been wealthy and
ambitious enough to improve and enhance their houses and to invest in new public
Beyond the Graves. Crisis and Continuity in the Hellenistic Funerary Contexts
from the Calvario Cemetery (Tarquinia, VT)
Vera Zanoni (University of Pavia)
The Hellenistic and Roman Calvario cemetery (4th–1st centuries BC) occupies a vast area of
the Etruscan Monterozzi burial site and is located between the Bartoccini Tomb and the
modern settlement of Tarquinia (Viterbo, Italy). The subterranean chamber–tombs from the
Calvario have been identified and explored during the 1960s–1970s thanks to excavation
campaigns conducted by Richard E. Linington for the Lerici Foundation of Milan: among the
over 1000 graves discovered, only 15% have been studied and published by Lucia
Cavagnaro Vanoni. This paper focuses instead on the unpublished funerary contexts which
have been found in the southern sector of the cemetery, and specifically on the most
interesting tombs discovered there, namely Tombs 1719 and 1824: despite having been
plundered both in ancient and recent times, these graves still represent the largest and
richest tombs of the area. The study of their architectural structures and grave assemblages
will shed new light on the so-called “crisis period” of Etruscan history, when the emergent
“upper middle class” of Tarquinia/Tarchna started to adopt new strategies of display and
self–representation (Selbstdarstellung strategies).
Oltre la tomba. Crisi e continuità nei contesti funerari ellenistici della necropoli
del Calvario (Tarquinia, VT)
La necropoli ellenistica e romana del Calvario (IV – I secolo a.C.) occupa una vasta sezione
del sito funerario etrusco di Monterozzi, in un’area collocata tra la Tomba Bartoccini e il
moderno insediamento di Tarquinia (Viterbo). Le tombe a camera sotterranee del Calvario
sono stata scoperte ed esplorate soprattutto grazie alle campagne di scavo condotte da
Richard L. Linington per conto della Fondazione Lerici (Milano) negli anni Sessanta e
Settanta. Delle oltre 1000 sepolture scoperte, pero’, solo una minima parte (15%) e’ stata
finora studiata e pubblicata da Lucia Cavagnaro Vanoni. Di contro, questa presentazione si
focalizzera’ sui contesti inediti che sono stati scoperti nel settore meridionale della necropoli,
e in particolare sulle sepolture piu’ significative scoperte in quest’area (Tomba 1719 e
Tomba 1824). Per quanto entrambi i contesti siano stati violati piu’ volte sia in antico che in
epoche piu’ recenti, le Tombe 1719 e 1824 continuano a rappresentare le sepolture piu’
ricche e cospicue scoperte nell’area considerata. Lo studio delle strutture architettoniche e
delle associazioni dei corredi aiutera’ quindi a gettare nuova luce sul periodo di “crisi”
attraversato dalla societa’ etrusca nel periodo considerato, quando i ceti dominanti di
Tarquinia/ Tarchna cominciarono ad adottare nuove strategie di autorappresentazione
funeraria (Selbstdarstellung).