Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Indigenous and Greek people at the dawn of Sybaris: economy and pottery production

Maurizio Crudo
Greek and Indigenous cultural encounters in South Italy always represented a huge fascination for scholars. In the previous century, studies on the subject were carried on according to ancient written sources rather than archaeological data. Analysis and interpretations grew exponentially along with the continuation of the studies but still followed the bias of a presumed dominance of the Greeks on the native. Conducting research like this create a disparity in the available data, analysed for the most discussed topic: Greek presence, from a Greek point of view. On the contrary, the most available data refer to indigenous people. Focusing on these data, in the present study I tried to describe local society and its economy, attempting to understand the Sybari's impact on the region and its inhabitant. Hence underlining how indigenous settlements steadily develop up until the Iron Age and how the Sybaris establishment – if it is a foundation rather than the result of a process of people coming together for trade – did not prevent it. On the contrary, the establishment of the Achaean polis seems the natural conclusion of the economical, political, and social process that indigenous settlements had undertaken, adopting impulses from all around the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. The economic development visible from the exploitation of the territory in the local artisanal fabric rising from the end of Medium Bronze Age shows increasing complexity towards the following phase specialization. From Final Bronze the indigenous settlements that show a continuity of life spread achieving strategic and economic control. Lack of trade from the East Mediterranean consent indigenous to develop their own morphological and decorative patterns in vessel production, with attenuating stimuli from other indigenous communities such as the indigenous group of Puglia and Basilicata. The spread of oenotrioan-euboean pottery indeed did not represent a breakthrough for local potters who already adopted the Mycenaean chaine operatoire developing their production in depurated clay with geometric decoration. Moreover, the oenotrian-euboean production evoked indigenous decorations and shapes declined with a different taste, adopting Hellenic technologies. Over a century, the local workshops seem to emulate the euboean production introducing wheel, a matt-burnished paint different from the previous fabric, and high-temperature kilns. Sanctuary on Timpone della Motta shows offering consecrated from the East, both continental (with imported pottery from Messapian and Salentinian area) and across the sea (with Corinthian pixides and kotylai). In other words, at the end of the 8th century BC the indigenous people appear healthy to the appointment with the establishment of Sybaris, whose occurrence should represent a shared conclusion between Greeks and Indigenous people.
Original languageItalian
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Attema, Peter, Supervisor
  • Jacobsen, J.K., Co-supervisor, External person
Award date30-Mar-2023
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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