Distribution of mycenaean pottery in the central mediterranean

Within the central Mediterranean a geographical distinction must, of course, be made between the Italian mainland, Sicily and Sardinia; the Maltese islands, should also be considered separately. The Italian peninsula is geographically determined by the Apennine mountain range, which stretches from Piemonte (near Genoa) into northern Calabria. A general distinction can be made between the coastal plains and valleys and the highlands in the interior. On the Italian mainland, the overall distribution of Aegean pottery reveals a distinctive coastal pattern, the only exception being Sassano (site no. 340) in the interior of Campania (Map 10).21 This is different in Sicily and Sardinia, where Mycenaean pottery has also been found in the interior. Along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts, there is a long string of sites from the Gargano Peninsula to the Sybaris plain in northern Calabria. The scatter of sites along the Tyrrhenian coast is less dense. Notable clusterings of sites are also visible in central and south-eastern Sicily, as well as on the Aeolian islands. In Sardinia, there are two sites with LH I-LH IIIB pottery.

If we look for sites that have yielded substantial amounts of Mycenaean pottery (Map 11), this pattern becomes more marked. The southern coast along the Ionian gulf stands out with several important sites, such as Scoglio del Tonno-Taranto (site no. 314), Termitito (site no. 316) and Broglio di Trebisacce (site no. 317). Elsewhere on the Italian Mainland, sites with more than fifty Mycenaean finds have not been discovered, but the island of Vivara (site no. 342) in the Gulf of Naples is a class 4 site. On Sicily, the site of Thapsos (site no. 327) is the only one in the area of Syracuse with substantial amounts of Mycenaean pottery; the sites of Cannatello (site no. 334) and Monte Grande (site no. 335) in southern Sicily are situated close together. In southern Sardinia, Antigori (site no. 348) is a class 4 site.

Several attempts have been made to regionally subdivide the (proto-)Apennine culture of the mainland Middle and Late Bronze Ages on the basis of the distribution of variations in artefact and pottery characteristics.22 These attempts have been heavily criticised, partly because the distribution of the different characteristics does not overlap and partly because the cultural significance of these variations is disputed.23 A more useful differentiation can be made by reviewing the nature of external influences that are recognisable in separate regions. On this basis, Bietti Sestieri makes a distinction between the Ionian and Adriatic regions on the one hand and Calabria and the Tyrrhenian coast on the other hand.24 The material culture in Apulia and Basilicata, although typologically connected with the rest of Italy and with trans-Alpine Europe, shows strong evidence of contact with the Aegean, especially in its bronze industry. Our sites, Porto Perone (site no. 313), Scoglio del Tonno (site no. 314), Termi-

21 This is not due to an absence of Middle and Late 22 See for example Peroni 1994a.

Bronze Age sites in the interior: see Barker & Stoddart 23 Lukesh 1983, 14.

1994, 148 Fig. 5.3; Malone, Stoddart & Whitehouse 24 Bietti Sestieri 1983, 66-102; 1988, 33.

tito (site no. 316) and Broglio di Trebisacce (site no. 317), belong to this group. The material culture in Calabria and the Tyrrhenian coast, on the other hand, is characterised by a strong connection with contemporary societies in Sicily and the Aeolian islands. Our sites in Campania and Latium belong to this group, even though Vivara and Ischia "do not entirely correspond to the general cultural trend of the region."25

The culture of eastern Sicily in the Middle and Late Bronze Age is characterised by the type site of Thapsos (site no. 327).26 Evidence for the Thapsos culture comes mainly from cemeteries which are scattered over the eastern and central part of the island. The material culture shows affiliations both with the Italian mainland and with Malta in the Borg en Nadur phase. On the Aeolian islands, the Early and Middle Bronze Ages are the scene of the Capo Graziano and Milazzese cultures - named after type sites on the islands of Lipari (site no. 325) and Panarea (site no. 324) respectively.27 The material culture of the Capo Graziano phase distinguishes itself from that of the Italian mainland, as well as from that of Sicily.28 The succeeding Milazzese culture, however, shows close relationships with the Sicilian Thapsos culture, as well as with mainland Campania. The material culture of the Aeolian islands during the Late Bronze Age is called Ausonio I, which shows close ties with sub-Apennine mainland Italy. Sardinia, of course, must be culturally distinguished from the other regions in the central Mediterranean. This island is characterised by the imposing Nuraghe, of which there are said to exist at least 7000 which were built in the period from 1500-500 BC.29 The period from 1500 to 1200 BC is generally referred to as the proto-Nuragic age.

In addition to the geographical and cultural regionalisation in the distribution pattern of Mycenaean pottery in the central Mediterranean, the chronological differentiation which has been described by Vagnetti should be taken into account in order to select sites for contextual analysis. In the subsequent chapters, the cultural context of the Mycenaean pottery at Lipari (site no. 325), Thapsos (site no. 327) and Broglio di Trebisacce (site no. 317) will be discussed. At Lipari, which is situated in the Tyrrhenian region, substantial quantities of Mycenaean pots have been found from all chronological phases. This will enable me to discuss the contexts of the LH I and LH II pottery and to compare it with later material. The Mycenaean vessels from the cemetery at Thapsos are predominantly from the LH IIIA2-LH IIIB phase. This site brings the region of Sicily in the discussion, while it opens up a funerary perspective. The site of Broglio di Trebisacce is situated on the Gulf of Taranto and represents the third chronological phase. As was the case for the selected sites in the Levant and Cyprus, none of these sites can be considered as type-sites for any region or period.

25 Bietti Sestieri 1983, 87.

26 Malone, Stoddart & Whitehouse 1994, 174-175; Leighton 1999, 147-157.

27 Bietti Sestieri 1980-1981, 40-45; Malone, Stoddart &

Whitehouse 1994, 174-178.

28 Bernabo-Brea & Cavalier 1980, 688-696.

29 Lo Schiavo 1981, 255-341; Balmuth 1992, 677.

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