Material Connections eschews outdated theory, tainted by colonialist attitudes, and develops a new cultural and historical understanding of how factors such as mobility, materiality, conflict and co-presence impacted on the formation of identity in the ancient Mediterranean. Fighting against ‘hyper-specialisation’ within the subject area, it explores the multiple ways that material culture was used to establish, maintain and alter identities, especially during periods of transition, culture encounter and change. A new perspective is adopted, one that perceives the use of material culture by prehistoric and historic Mediterranean peoples in formulating and changing their identities. It considers how objects and social identities are entangled in various cultural encounters and interconnections.
The movement of people as well as objects has always stood at the heart of attempts to understand the courses and process of human history. The Mediterranean offers a wealth of such information and Material Connections, expanding on this base, offers a dynamic, new subject of enquiry – the social identify of prehistoric and historic Mediterranean people – and considers how migration, colonial encounters, and connectivity or insularity influence social identities. The volume includes a series of innovative, closely related case studies that examine the contacts amongst various Mediterranean islands – Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Crete, Cyprus, the Balearics – and the nearby shores of Italy, Greece, North Africa, Spain and the Levant to explore the social and cultural impact of migratory, colonial and exchange encounters. Material Connections forges a new path in understanding the material culture of the Mediterranean and will be essential for those wishing to develop their understanding of material culture and identity in the Mediterranean.