Sicily without Mycenae

A Cross-Cultural Consumption Analysis of Connectivity in the Bronze Age Central Mediterranean


  • Anthony Russell University of Glasgow



acculturation, Aegean, Bronze Age, cross-cultural consumption, identity, Sicily


During the Middle Bronze Age in Sicily, there is evidence for material contact with several extra-insular societies, not least with the contemporary Mycenaean culture based in the Aegean. This Mycenaean connection typically receives the most attention, and has been used as the basis to posit the broad acculturation of Sicilian society to Aegean norms, despite a rather limited amount of evidence. To complement the empirical data of genuine imports, interpretations of Aegean influence have also been applied to Sicilian material expressions. In this study, I argue that such acculturation frameworks are too limited to analyse properly the material changes that occur in Sicily, as they rely heavily on the uncertain physical presence of ‘Mycenaeans’ on the island, and do not engage with Sicilian agency or motivations. Instead, I propose a framework borrowed from current globalisation studies, whereby what has been accepted, rejected, or heavily adapted from external sources is given equal interpretive weighting. This consumption-focused perspective also considers the likelihood of disparate systems of value and meaning. The result is an interpretive framework in which prehistoric Sicilians do not fade into the background during the Middle Bronze Age and are not overshadowed by the primary place given to Aegean influence and activity.

Author Biography

Anthony Russell, University of Glasgow

Anthony Russell is an Affiliate Researcher in the Archaeology Division, Department of Humanities, at the University of Glasgow. He is currently working as a consulting archaeologist based in Western Canada. He is a co-editor of the recently published volume Creating Material Worlds: The Uses of Identity in Archaeology (Oxbow Books, 2016).



How to Cite

Russell, A. (2017). Sicily without Mycenae: A Cross-Cultural Consumption Analysis of Connectivity in the Bronze Age Central Mediterranean. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 30(1), 59–83.