B 2. Migrations and large-scale movements in the ancient Mediterranean

People’s movements and migration across the ancient Mediterranean have been on the scholarly agenda for a long time, particularly so in more recent times as cultural and ethnic interaction have become the latest catchphrase of archaeological and ancient historical research. As a result, now more than ever much attention is brought upon situations of migration involving the encounter of different ethnic groups and/or groups coming from distinct cultural regions: Phoenician colonial settlements and Greek new settlements across the Mediterranean have taken the lion’s share of interest, and with them Greek/non-Greek and Phoenician colonial/indigenous interaction. This has led to radically new views on Archaic Greek colonization, which have problematized and questioned the concept of colony (Osborne 1998), on one hand; on the other, studies on Phoenician colonization have begun to throw light upon colonial landscapes and the nature of Phoenician colonial settlements vis-à-vis cultural hybridity (van Dommelen 2005, Vives-Ferrándiz Sánchez 2006). All this, however, has curtailed interest for an important phenomenon, of which Phoenician colonial settlements and Greek settlements outside the Aegean are only two of several other examples: the large-scale movement of population within single regions, not just across different regions, and the archaeological manifestation of such movements. Greek new settlements of areas settled by other Greek residents are yet to be fully explored. Other similarly new settlements in Italy, which are defined by sudden material culture transformations, are all too easily interpreted as colonies, and the role of people’s migration in creating these transformations is largely left unproblematized (cf Cambridge Greek Colonization symposium): thus, ‘Etruscan’ settlements outside Etruria are understood as an example of colonization, economic benefit and new resources being the driving force behind it. In fact, as the Etruscan colonization case shows, too much concern for colonization has had the undesirable effect of colonization providing the model for understanding ANY archaeologically visible large-scale migration of population. In order to re-address the balance, the panel will discuss migration within or across regions, providing alternative perspectives for understanding them. Dilating the chronological spectrum of a phenomenon that is by no means confined to the Archaic period/Iron Age is essential: the archaeological evidence speaks eloquently of other large-scale and archaeologically visible movements of people in prehistory, but these examples have hardly been looked at comparatively with later ones; on the other hand, fresh light could be thrown upon later examples of people’s migrations for which we have textual evidence such as Roman coloniae. Ultimately, this comparative analysis will benefit our understanding of colonization itself by providing a new perspective upon new settlements within a colonial context. We feel that the topic of the proposed panel will fittingly respond to the overarching theme of the Congress and the Migration and Culture sub-heading amongst the suggested topics for panels.


  1. Carrie Roth-Murray (University of Wales, Lampeter)

Colonization’ at Marzabotto: The effects of expansion on the Padana area

  1. Corinna Riva (University College London)

Migration between Etruria and the Picenum? The case of Fermo

  1. Elena Isayev (University of Exeter)

How is the concept of ‘displacement’ applicable to the Ancient Mediterranean?

  1. Jaime Vives-Ferrándiz Sánche (Museum of Prehistory, Valencia)

Whose movements? Phoenician trade diaspora in EastIberia

  1. Vedia Izzet (University of Southampton)

Questions of Mediterranean migration: the case of Spina