Main content area

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

Alberti, Gianmarco
Journal of archaeological science: Reports 2017 v.11 pp. 310-329
archaeology, case studies, ceramics, food consumption, households, human settlements, inventories, multivariate analysis, social structure, socioeconomics, Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Settlement and social organization in Middle Bronze Age Sicily (ca 1490–1250BCE) have received scant attention compared to that devoted to broader cultural processes during the same period. In spite of some limitations, this work aims at filling the gap building on published evidence from Capo Milazzese settlement (Aeolian Archipelago, north-eastern Sicily), which is taken as case study. On the basis of a preliminary yet necessary study of deposits' formation process, and by means of quantitative and multivariate analyses, this work seeks to pinpoint the activities performed within the settlement, and to understand their material and spatial correlates. For the first time, this work identifies habitations and utilitarian huts highlighting differences in terms of artefacts inventories and floor area. Evidence hinting at huts' functional changes, and at special activities such as pottery production, is located. The material culture patterning brought to the fore by the analysis provides grounds to infer traits of households' socio-economic, architectural, and spatial organization, and to open a window into local processes that may account for the social meaning of food consumption practices, and for the incorporation of foreign pottery into local ceramic inventories.