Thesis Title: In the borderlands: Archaeological evidence for relations between Etruscans and Ligurians in the 6th-5th cents BC.
This project will use the archaeological evidence to define the nature of the relations between the Etruscans and the Ligurians and their impact on the economy, culture and structure of both societies, 6th-5th cents BC. In addition, I will identify the routes via which these contacts took place.
The Etruscans occupied west-central Italy and the central Po plain, whilst the inhabitants of north-west Italy are described as Ligurians, as in the ancient sources. We know that relations between the two changed through time, e.g. increasing with the geopolitical changes following the Battle of Alalia (around 540 BC) and the subsequent founding of an Etruscan settlement at Genoa. I will focus on the west sector of the Apennines and Po valley, examining all classes of pottery, the metal objects, the inscriptions and any other evidence that shows relationships between the two cultures.
Recent work has concentrated on defining the Ligurian culture, equated to the ethnic group known in the written sources (e.g. the 2004 I Liguri exhibition catalogue), or on the extent and chronology of Etruscan colonisation of the Po plain (e.g. the 2007 conference La colonizzazione etrusca in Italia). Emphasis has been on ‘exotic’ goods at Ligurian sites, with two sources proposed, Etruscans in the central Po plain (e.g. Gambari & Venturino Gambari) or Etruscan Genoa and the Tyrhennian seaboard (e.g. Pearce). I shall transcend these approaches by examining the contexts of imports, and take a diachronic approach to transformations within Ligurian society (ceramic technology, settlement hierarchy, status in tomb groups), focusing on issues of identity and agency. Going beyond the emphasis on typology and chronology, I shall achieve a step-change in research on Etruscan-Ligurian relations, using the artefacts to elucidate its social and ideological context.