Greeks in the Mountains: New Insights on the Landscapes of Ancient Greek ‘Colonization’ in Calabria, Southern Italy

Author(s): Lin Foxhall

Year: 2018


This paper investigates the political and economic landscapes of Greek ‘colonization’, using as a case study the upland and lowland landscapes investigated by survey and excavation by the Bova Marina Archaeological Project. The study region lies between two neighbouring ancient Greek city-states, Rhegion and Locri Epizephyrii, established in the late 8th-7th century BCE. Ancient classical texts present a picture of deep, long-term hostility between them, as well as with the indigenous population. Following the historical narrative derived from texts, traditional scholarly thought places Greek settlement largely in lowland areas close to the coast. However, there is evidence of Greek settlement dating back to the 6th century BCE high in the Aspromonte mountains (1300m asl) as well as on the coast. The archaeological evidence reveals more complexity than text-based narratives, with significant differences in political and social organization between upland and lowland zones. Material cultural evidence suggests that notions of ‘Greek’ and ‘indigenous’ need to be questioned and problematized. Sovereignty of the urban centres over the lands in this ‘in-between’ zone appears constrained and patchy. Applying modern concepts of boundaries and borders is probably anachronistic, and our evidence suggests that the inhabitants simultaneously enacted multiple, alternative constructions of ‘territory’.

Cite this Record

Greeks in the Mountains: New Insights on the Landscapes of Ancient Greek ‘Colonization’ in Calabria, Southern Italy. Lin Foxhall. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444384)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.151; min lat: 29.459 ; max long: 42.847; max lat: 47.99 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20086