Book Series Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, vol. 3

Adoption, Adaption, and Innovation in Pre-Roman Italy

Paradigms for Cultural Change

Jeremy Armstrong, Aaron Rhodes-Schroder (eds)

  • Pages: 282 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:60 b/w, 84 col., 8 tables b/w., 10 maps b/w, 5 maps color
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60232-5
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60233-2
  • E-book
  • Available


Jeremy Armstrong is Associate Professor of Ancient History at the University of Auckland and is the author/editor of seven volumes, and numerous chapters and articles, on archaic Rome and Italy.

Aaron Rhodes-Schroder graduated with his PhD from the University of Auckland specializing in the cross-cultural transmission of ideas and artistic forms in Etruria.


The ancient Mediterranean basin was once thought to be populated by large, monolithic, cultural-political entities. In this conception, ‘the Greeks’, ‘the Romans’, and other stable and homogenous cultures interacted and vied for supremacy like early modern states or empires. Today, however, thanks largely to an ever-increasing archaeological record, critical and sensitive approaches to the literary evidence, and the impact and application of new theoretical approaches, the ancient Mediterranean region is instead argued to be full of dynamic microcultures organized in a fluid set of overlapping networks. While this atomization of culture has resulted in more interesting and accurate micro-histories, it has also challenged how we understand cultural interaction and change.

This volume draws on this new understanding of cultural identity and contact to address the themes of adoption, adaption, and innovation in Pre-Roman Italy from the 9th–3rd centuries BCE. The contributors to this volume build upon recent paradigm shifts in research that challenge traditional Hellenocentric models and work to establish a new set of frameworks for approaching the tangled question of how ‘indigenous’ and ’foreign’ features relate to one another in the material record. Using focused case-studies, ranging from the role played by mobile populations in transferring ideas and technologies to the different ways in which ‘foreign’ artistic elements were used by Italian peoples, the volume explores what the — now commonly accepted — connectedness of a wider Mediterranean world meant for the people of Italy in practical terms, and offers new models for how concepts and ideas were transmitted, reinterpreted, repurposed, and re-appropriated in early Italy to fit within their local context.


List of Illustrations



1. Rethinking Cultural (Ex)Change in Pre-Roman Italy
Jeremy Armstrong and Aaron Rhodes-Schroder

2. The Paradox of Innovation in Conservative Societies: Cultural Self-Consistency and Bricolage in Iron Age Central Italy
Nicola Terrenato

3. Mixing Up Mediterranean Innovation: The Case of Viticulture and Wine
Franco De Angelis

4. The World has Changed: Insularity and Tyrrhenian Connectivity during the Corsican Iron Ages
Marine Lechenault and Kewin Peche-Quilichini

5. Folding Meaning in an Object: The Ficoroni Cista and the Heterarchy of Art in Early Italy
John North Hopkins

6. Virtue in Variety: Contrasting Temple Design in Etruscan Italy
Charlotte R. Potts

7. The Demon Is in the Detail: Greek Pottery in Etruscan Funerary Contexts
Aaron Rhodes-Schroder

8. Local Choices in a Networked World: Funerary Practices at Crustumerium (Lazio) during the Long Seventh Century BCE
Peter Attema, Barbara Belelli Marchesini, and Matthijs Catsman

9. From the Ground Up: Constructing Monumental Buildings in Archaic Central Italy
Amanda K. Pavlick

10. The Archaic Countryside Revisited: A Ceramic Approach to the Study of Archaic Rural Infill in Latium Vetus
Gijs Tol

11. Ritual Connectivity in Adriatic Italy
Camilla Norman

12. Face to Face: Isolated Heads in South Italian and Etruscan Visual Culture
Keely Elizabeth Heuer

13. Feasting Transformed: Commensal Identity Expression and Social Transformation in Iron Age and Archaic Western Sicily
William M. Balco

14. The Deep Past of Magna Graecia’s Pottery Traditions: Adoption and Adaptation at Timpone della Motta and in the Sibaritide (Northern Calabria, Italy) between the Middle Bronze Age and the Archaic Period
Peter Attema, Carmelo Colelli, Martin Guggisberg, Francesca Ippolito, Jan Kindberg Jacobsen, Gloria Mittica, Wieke de Neef, and Sine Grove Saxkjær