New light on old data: Toward understanding settlement and social organization in Middle Bronze Age Aeolian Islands (Sicily) through quantitative and multivariate analysis

  • Gianmarco Alberti
  • Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, February 2017, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.12.002

What is it about?

This study is the first attempt in southern Italian scholarly tradition to fully analyse the archaeological evidece of a Middle Bronze Age settlement with the overarching goal to (a) highlight material culture patterning and (b) to backtrack forms of societal organization from the highlighted patterns. For these reasons, once the processes leading to the formation of the archaeological assemblages have been preliminarly explored and assessed, functional classes of objects found on the huts' floor have been analysed through statistical methods in order to bring to the fore patterns of associations between different types of huts and different 'tool-kits'. The highlighted patterns have been eventually interpreted in the light of a body of different anthropological theoretical strands.

Why is it important?

The study is a first attempt in analysing a Sicilian Middle Bronze Age settlement trying to make a sharp departure from 'traditional' approaches to settlement study in souther Italian archaeology. Unlike previous studies, my work has been aimed at a global understanding of the material culture. It has tackled material culture as a means to address anthropological questions rather than as an end itself. The analysis of the material culture has been also set within a strong anthropological theorethical framework. The study has shed new lights on different overlooked aspects of material culture patterning and societal organization in Middle Bronze Age Sicily.


Dr Gianmarco Alberti
University of Malta

The study is an offshot of my doctoral research (2009-2012), which has been focused on the societal organization of the Middle Bronze Age communities in the Aeolian Archipelago (northeastern Sicily). The study has been particularly challenging since it entailed dealing with published data mainly gathered during mid-1900s, which were featured by some limitation by modern archaeological standards.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Gianmarco Alberti