The role of mycenaean pottery in the material culture of broglio di trebisacce

Apart from a small piece of amber discovered in levels dating to the Final Bronze Age,49 the twelve Aegean pots are the only clearly identifiable imports which have been discovered at Broglio di Trebisacce. The few bronzes from the site may also have been imported from elsewhere, but they have their best parallels on the Italian mainland and do not seem to derive from international maritime ex-change.50 Mycenaean pottery, which consists of well-levigated clay and is wheel-made, is of an entirely different technical tradition than the local hand-made impasto.51 It may be argued that Aegean pots possessed a special significance within such a material environment, probably based on its association with a far-away, international world. Indeed, the observed concentration of Aegean-type finds in the complesso a monte seems to confirm such a high regard for this class of material.

This being said, a number of observations have been made in this chapter which shed light on the use and appreciation of Mycenaean-type pottery at the site in more detail. Firstly, the spatial distribution, as well as the contextual associations of Aegean imports and Aegean type vessels of local manu-

46 Giardino 1982, 50; Bergonzi & Cardarelli 1982c, 8687, 96; Capofieri & Giardino 1984a, 58; 1984b, 68-74; Buffa 1984a, 161; Belardelli 1984, 137-139.

47 Giardino 1982, 50-54; Bergonzi & Cardarelli 1982c, 85-86, 96; 1984, 137-141, 153-155; Belardelli 1984, 139-145; Buffa 1984a, 161-162; Capofieri & Giardino 1984a, 60-74; 1984b, 74-92.

48 Capofieri & Giardino 1984a, 28; Buffa 1984b, 197

198; 1994b.

49 Peroni & Trucco 1994, 29; Buffa 1994a, 503; 1994b, 572, Tav. 120.1

50 Buffa 1994b.

51 Bergonzi 1985, 361-368; Vagnetti 1999. The wheel-made grey wares, in many cases decorated with Aegean motifs and encompassing vessel types familiar to the Aegean and to the local repertoires, may be considered as a class of material which developed locally under Aegean influence.

facture proved to be similar, which suggests that these two classes were appreciated in the same way. This possibly signifies that a notion of originality and a high regard for it did not exist during the Bronze Age at Broglio.52 It is also possible that the distinctive technique of Aegean-type pottery alone was sufficient to invoke prestige.53 The fact that a difference in origin appears to have been irrelevant for the appreciation of Aegean-type pottery, however, may also be taken as evidence that Aegean craftsmen were involved in the local production of this type of material at Broglio.

A second important observation is that the use of Mycenaean dinner vessels in particular was concentrated at the complesso a monte. The fact that a similar observation cannot be made for local impasto or grey ware indicates, firstly, that Mycenaean-type pottery was indeed perceived as a distinctive category of material by the inhabitants at Broglio. Secondly, it shows that the restricted distribution of Mycenaean dinner vessels should be related to a high regard for such vases and was not due to a specific functional differentiation to do with activities associated with the buildings. All this suggests that Mycenaean-type pottery was a culturally relevant class of material at Broglio and could actively be involved in strategies of consumption.

The site of Broglio di Trebisacce has been interpreted as constituting an autonomous socio-political unit in the Sibaritide area during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages.54 Among the more than twenty pre- and proto-historic sites in the region,55 only at Torre del Mordillo (site no. 319) have substantial quantities of Mycenaean pottery also been found.56 From the site of Timpone della Motta near Francavilla Marittima (site no. 318) one fragment of a Mycenaean stirrup jar has been reported, which, to date, remains the only find of its kind at this site, even though the recent excavations have exposed Middle and Late Bronze Age features and levels.57 It appears, then, that the circulation of Aegean-type pottery was restricted, which is in contrast with the evidence for a considerable regional exchange of dolia and impasto vessels.58 This indicates that Aegean-type pottery remained confined to a few centres, such as Broglio di Trebisacce, which were probably in direct contact with the Aegean world. In these centres, Mycenaean decorated vessels served specifically as a means of expression for élite groups, although they were used by various social groups.

52 It may seriously be questioned whether the distinction between 'original' and 'imitation' has any relevance in pre-modern situations, see van Wijngaarden 1999b, 34, note 107.

53 See, for example, Hugh-Jones 1992, 59.

54 Peroni 1994b, 834-853.

55 Peroni & Vagnetti 1982; Buffa & Peroni 1982; Belardelli et al. 1994.

56 Arancio et al. (1995, 227-239); Vagnetti pers. comm.

57 Lattanzi & Vagnetti 1983-1984; Kleibrink & Attema, pers. comm.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment