Connecting Against the Grain: Mobility in the Iron Age West Mediterranean
Peter van Dommelen (Brown University)
Migration and mobility in the Mediterranean Iron Age are widely regarded as a function of colonial explorations that took off in the earlier centuries of the first millennium BCE, i.e. with Phoenicians and Greeks leading the way, and that connected distant shores of the ‘Middle Sea’ at increasing rates of intensity. Over the last two decades or so, occasional finds and identifications of ‘other’, i.e. non-colonial and usually coarse wares, have however gradually begun to chip away at this colonialist representation. In addition, there is now also solid and abundant evidence from across the West Mediterranean that Greek and Phoenician colonization relied heavily on local Iron Age communities, who were instrumental in forging new connections. Drawing on this ensemble of new and newly recognized evidence, I intend to lay out an alternative perspective on connectivity and migration for the Iron Age West Mediterranean that also, and not coincidentally, takes on board the postcolonial call to recognize indigenous initiatives and involvement in both the present and the past. In doing so, I will draw on evidence from across the West Mediterranean, but focus in particular on the island of Sardinia, that not only occupies a central position in this region, but whose communities also had a long history of overseas connections. The ongoing excavations at nuraghe S’Urachi (San Vero Milis, OR) will serve to make this point.
Multi-scalar Connectivities in the Western Mediterranean in Late Antiquity
Miguel Ángel Cau (Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats and University of Barcelona)
Connectivity and mobility in the Roman and Late Antique periods have always been a focus of attention in archaeological and historical research. Connectivity in the western Mediterranean has been often treated at a large scale. Material culture, and particularly pottery, has been widely used to reveal the connectivity of places and to study trade and movement of goods, people, and ideas. Thus, connectivity was always—consciously or unconsciously—embedded in the study of the Roman and Late Antique Mediterranean. The study of ports and trade networks has advanced significantly both from terrestrial and maritime archaeology, with contributions from network theory and with a significant increase in the number of sites and shipwrecks being excavated throughout the Mediterranean. The Roman ‘globalization’ gave way to a more fragmented picture in Late Antiquity. The rise and spread of Christianity and the massive migration of Barbarian populations into the Roman frontiers, among other factors, catalyzed deep transformations, hybridization, and cultural entanglements that characterized the long transition between the Roman era and the Middle Ages. This contribution addresses the connectivity and mobility in the western Mediterranean in Late Antiquity. I argue that the concept of connectivity can be understood as a multi-scalar phenomenon. A regionalization process is observed in many areas, but often this co-existed with long-distance trade and pan-Mediterranean traditions. A few cases from the Western Mediterranean will serve to illustrate these ideas. Not only were large-scale connections were essential to forging the late antique Mediterranean, but smaller-scale connectivity had also a major role in the distribution of goods, interbreeding, cultural entanglements, religion, and processes of creation of identities, ethnicity and cultural ethnogenesis. Thus, I understand connectivity as a wide ranging and multi-scalar phenomenon in which not only large-scale Mediterranean processes but also urban networks, city-countryside relationships, intra-urban connections, and even intra-building connectivities need to be properly addressed.
Mobility and Connectivity: global ideas on local scales
Tamar Hodos (Bristol University)
Mobility takes a number of forms throughout the Mediterranean’s history, and operates on a number of scales. While the emphasis of this workshop has been on small-scale connectivities, particularly in the region of the western Mediterranean, an examination of mobility in this region, particularly from the first millennium BCE onwards, draws in the wider Mediterranean. Thus, at times, the small scale is informed by the larger scale. This talk assesses broad, theoretical ideas about the relationship between mobility and connectivity in the ancient Mediterranean, and the role of the wider Mediterranean within the local, within the three key framework areas of this workshop – small-scale connections; beyond the urbanised coast; temporal transversity.