Sicily without Mycenae
A Cross-Cultural Consumption Analysis of Connectivity in the Bronze Age Central Mediterranean
Keywords: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.
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