Ideas across times. Cultural interactions in the central-western Mediterranean Sea from VII century BCE to the Late Roman Age

We organize a session to the symposium of the European Association of Archaeologists (Budapest, august 2020).

Contemporary society daily compares with communications’ and interactions’ problems among different cultures and peoples. In this regard, the study of the dynamics of reception of ideas and objects, acquired in different contexts other than those in which they have been developed and produced, could be very interesting. Although according to different historical perspectives, the ancient world has tackled similar issues. Particularly, from the VII century BCE to the Late Roman Age, Mediterranean Sea becomes the setting of encounters and clashes, like commercial exchanges and wars, among the Phoenicians, Punics, Etruscans, Romans and the other societies that came into contacts with them. For example, in the central-western Mediterranean Sea in which these cultural systems settled, it is possible to analyze one of the most important issue of the so-called “archeology of interactions”, that is how foreign artistic languages and system of values, material culture and technological knowledge have been transmitted and received by the native populations. This research session intends to propose a study of the archaeological data through which it is possible to identify the constitutive elements of the cultural phenomena just described. Therefore, from a methodological point of view, the aim of the session is to analyze, in a comparative way, the connections between use and function of material culture. More specifically, it intends to investigate the mechanisms of reception and perception through which the objects, in their dual role of material goods and cultural indicators, including for example foods and cosmetics substances traded, communicate ideas and images.

Session Keywords: Cultural interactions, Mediterranean Sea, Trades, Punic Culture, Etruscan Culture, Roman

Session Organizers: Carla del Vais (Università di Cagliari, Italy), Dominique Frère (Université Bretagne Sud, France), Sud), Marco Giuman (Università di Cagliari, Italy); Ciro Parodo (Università di Cagliari, Italy); Gianna De Luca (Università di Cagliari, Italy).

New Article

Celtic consumption practices

Chemical analyses of ceramics from Vix-Mont Lassois

New insights into Early Celtic consumption practices: Organic residue analyses of local and imported pottery from Vix-Mont Lassois


The rich Mediterranean imports found in Early Celtic princely sites (7th-5th cent. BC) in Southwestern Germany, Switzerland and Eastern France have long been the focus of archaeological and public interest. Consumption practices, particularly in the context of feasting, played a major role in Early Celtic life and imported ceramic vessels have consequently been interpreted as an attempt by the elite to imitate Mediterranean wine feasting. Here we present the first scientific study carried out to elucidate the use of Mediterranean imports in Early Celtic Central Europe and their local ceramic counterparts through organic residue analyses of 99 vessels from Vix-Mont Lassois, a key Early Celtic site. In the Mediterranean imports we identified imported plant oils and grape wine, and evidence points towards appropriation of these foreign vessels. Both Greek and local wares served for drinking grape wine and other plant-based fermented beverage(s). A wide variety of animal and plant by-products (e.g. fats, oils, waxes, resin) were also identified. Using an integrative approach, we show the importance of beehive products, millet and bacteriohopanoid beverage(s) in Early Celtic drinking practices. We highlight activities related to biomaterial transformation and show intra-site and status-related differences in consumption practices and/or beverage processing.