Matters of Use and Consumption

The Urban-Rural Divide in Punic and Republican Sardinia (4th–1st Centuries bc)


  • Andrea Roppa University of Leicester



city-country (urban-rural) relationships, consumption, Punic, Republican, Sardinia


The study of city-country relationships in the classical world has long been a widely recognized field of research. While recent studies tend to reconsider the well-established traditional town centric approach and new perspectives emphasize the agrarian dimension of towns, little attention has been devoted to the distinctive materiality of rural and urban life. The main focus of this paper falls on comparative patterns of consumption of, and specific material culture used by, communities inhabiting larger settlements as opposed to those distinctive households at smaller rural sites. By focusing on ceramic material assemblages from a range of excavated and surveyed sites dating to the Punic and Republican period on the island of Sardinia, I explore the urban rural divide and use portable material culture as evidence of consumption and daily activities carried out at urban and rural sites. Based on these data, I emphasize the wide diversification within the rural world and the long-term development of larger settlements through the lens of ceramic material culture in use. I suggest that the detailed study of ceramic assemblages may shed new light on human activities and the distinctive ways of life in urban and rural contexts; I also propose that the availability of a wider range of goods and more sophisticated patterns of consumption are specific attributes of urban life.

Author Biography

  • Andrea Roppa, University of Leicester
    Andrea Roppa received his PhD in Archaeology in 2010 from the University of Padova (Italy) with a dissertation on Sardinia’s rural and urban communities throughout the Punic and Republican period. That research forms the basis for this paper as well as his published book Comunità urbane e rurali nella Sardegna punica di età ellenistica (València: Universitat de València, 2013). Since 2009 he has been Research Associate, first at the University of Glasgow and currently at the University of Leicester, working with Peter van Dommelen on the Colonial Traditions project, which explores Phoenician-Nuragic interactions in Iron Age Sardinia. His main research interests include colonial situations, (ceramic) artisanal traditions and landscape archaeology in first millennium bc western Mediterranean, in particular on the island of Sardinia.






How to Cite

Roppa, A. (2013). Matters of Use and Consumption: The Urban-Rural Divide in Punic and Republican Sardinia (4th–1st Centuries bc). Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 26(2), 159-185.