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Regional Pathways to Complexity: Settlement and Land-Use Dynamics in Early Italy from the Bronze Age to the Republican Period

Peter A.J. Attema
Gert-Jan L.M. Burgers
P. Martijn van Leusen
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Regional Pathways to Complexity
    Book Description:

    Synthesizing almost 30 years of Dutch archaeological research in central and southern Italy, this book discusses and compares settlement and land use patterns from the late protohistoric period to the late Roman Republic. Exploring both social and environmental explanations, as well as interregional parallellisms and divergences, the authors take a multi-scalar approach (from micro-regional to supra-regional) to the long-term development of indigenous Bronze Age tribal pastoralist societies towards the complexity of urbanized Roman society. The culmination of a joint project conducted between 1997 and 2005, the comparative perspective offered by this book is based on the results of long-term landscape archaeological fieldwork projects by the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (in Lazio and Calabria) and the Archaeological Centre of the Free University (in Puglia).Amsterdam Archaeological Studies is a series devoted to the study of past human societies from the prehistory up into modern times, primarily based on the study of archaeological remains. The series will include excavation reports of modern fieldwork; studies of categories of material culture; and synthesising studies with broader images of past societies, thereby contributing to the theoretical and methodological debates in archaeology.This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1344-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. None)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. None)
    (pp. I-IV)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-30)

    ‘Regional Pathways to Complexity’ was the short title for a project covering the long-term archaeology of three regions in Italy. It began in late 1997 and is now, more than a decade later, completed with the publication of this synthetic volume. The full title of the project wasRegional Pathways to Complexity, Landscape and Settlement Dynamics in early Italy, and its primary aim was a multidisciplinary and comparative assessment of processes of centralization and urbanization in three Italian landscapes during, roughly, the 1stmillennium BC.¹ Particular attention was paid to the internal social dynamics of the regions investigated and, correspondingly,...

  5. 2 Regional Settlement Dynamics of the Pontine Region
    (pp. 31-58)

    The aim of this chapter is to delineate the long-term settlement history of the Pontine region from the Bronze Age to the Roman Imperial period, in the context of its natural environment. We will first describe the variations in the landscape that conditioned the development of patterns of settlement and landscape exploitation. To this end the results of various pollen cores and sedimentation studies are used that were carried out in the course of the Pontine Region and RPC projects. We will then delineate and evaluate the various land systems that can be discerned in the Pontine region, in order...

  6. 3 Regional Settlement Dynamics of the Salento Isthmus
    (pp. 59-80)

    The Salento Isthmus is located in the south of modern Apulia; it is the common name for the stretch of land between Taranto and Brindisi that connects the Salento peninsula to the rest of Italy. Its highest part is the Murge plateau, an undulating tableland which averages about 400 m above sea level. The other major physio-geographical units of the isthmus comprise the much dissected marine terraces near Taranto in the south-west, and the gently undulating coastal plain near Brindisi in the south-east, which is part of the larger so-calledpiana messapica.

    In the present chapter we will first discuss...

  7. 4 Settlement Dynamics of the Sibaritide and its Hinterland
    (pp. 81-106)

    In this chapter we discuss settlement dynamics in the RPC study area in the Sibaritide and its hinterland with a special focus on the catchment area and hinterland of the protohistorical settlement of Timpone della Motta. The site of Timpone della Motta has been excavated by the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA) since 1991 under the direction of Prof. Marianne Kleibrink, who continued and extended the earlier Italian excavations of the late 1960s and 1970s.¹ Systematic surveys in a 5 km- radius around the site started in 2000 as part of the third and last campaign that was carried out...

  8. 5 Centralization and proto-urbanization in the Bronze and Iron Ages
    (pp. 107-118)

    In this chapter we will discuss centralization and proto-urbanization in the three RPC study regions for the period of the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Our perspective will be comparative, with occasional references to the broader geographical framework of Central and South-Italy. A first attempt at comparing the three RPC regions was made in a paper presented by one of us during a conference held at the British Academy in November 2002 on Mediterranean Urbanization between 800 and 600 BC.¹ The trends and problems noted in that paper regarding the settlement developments of the three regions have been incorporated in...

  9. 6 Rethinking early Greek - indigenous encounters in southern Italy
    (pp. 119-134)

    Until recently, the study of the protohistorical societies discussed in chapter 5 was strongly overshadowed by that of the Greek colonial world. Indigenous peoples throughout the eastern and western reaches of the Greek colonial ventures have commonly been perceived as socio-politically and culturally subordinate to the Greek colonists who settled among them. In southern Italy, orMegale Hellas, most pre-Roman archaeological research concentrated on colonial Greek city-states, from Poseidonia on the Tyrrhenian coast to Sybaris and Taras along the Ionic Sea. Traditionally, these excavations focused – as many continue to do – on Greek colonization and Greek art, architecture and...

  10. 7 Indigenous Urbanization in the Archaic Period
    (pp. 135-146)

    Recent archaeological research has demonstrated that 7thand 6th-century BC urbanization in central and southern Italy was a process that involved non-Greek and non-Roman regions to a much greater extent than was previously believed. Whilst urban characteristics had been recognized in these regions before, they barely received archaeological attention, and when they did, it was mainly as cursory asides in studies focusing on Greek or Roman colonization and urbanism. In southern Italy, for instance, the ‘Greek’ aspect of indigenous Archaic fortifications was seen as an indication of the diffusive strength of the urban culture of the coastal poleis, along the...

  11. 8 Rural Infill, Urbanization and Roman Expansion
    (pp. 147-170)

    According to tradition the 4thcentury BC marked the end of a phase of military and territorial turmoil in the Pontine region that was won decisively by the expanding Roman Republic. In the early decades of the century, Rome rapidly ensured its grip on its southern neighbours and their land, founding or reinforcing a series of colonies at strategic points in the Pontine landscape. However, the two southern regions central to our project, the Sibaritide and the Salento peninsula, would still remain outside the tentacles of Roman expansion for more than a century. According to the records of theFasti...

  12. 9 A Supra-regional Comparative Perspective
    (pp. 171-180)

    The main goal of the RPC project, as set forth in the project design, was to gain insight into processes of centralization and urbanization taking place over a long period from protohistory into Roman times, within three regions studied since the early 1980s by the participating Dutch archaeology departments (GIA and ACVU). The spatial, ecological, technological, socio-economic, and political aspects of these processes were to be analyzed from a long-term and comparative perspective.

    This was an ambitious goal, as it involved the study and explanation of observed changes in settlement and land use patterns in geographically diverse areas and over...

    (pp. 181-198)
  14. Index
    (pp. 199-204)
  15. Colour plates
    (pp. 205-236)