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03/01/2018 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Containers, Commodities, and Greek Colonization in the Mediterranean of the 8th Century BCE

Antonios Kotsonas

The 8th century BCE is punctuated by milestones in the history of the ancient Mediterranean and by a remarkable intensification of connections, from the Near East to Iberia. There are numerous interrelated processes and cultural conditions that may have shaped this development, but one factor that seems to have influenced the Mediterranean sphere was colonization, which mobilized Phoenicians and Greeks to establish new communities overseas, and thus to reshape the cultural and economic landscape of the entire region. The lecture revisits the traditional discourse on the economics of Greek colonization and argues in support of “commercial”—as opposed to “agrarian”— stimuli, using evidence of transport containers and the commodities they contained, the latter being the “soft things” that often leave no trace in the archaeological record.
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