Chapter

Social, Cultural, and Political Landscapes

Michael Dietler

in Archaeologies of Colonialism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520265516
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947948 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520265516.003.0004
Social, Cultural, and Political Landscapes

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When traders peddling Etruscan goods first anchored their small ships along the shores of southern France in the late seventh century B.C.E., they encountered a diverse and dynamic world of indigenous peoples whose languages and customs they did not understand. A few decades later, colonists from a Phocaean homeland at the other end of the Mediterranean claimed a space on the north shore of a small harbor on the rugged Provençal coast and began to build homes within the tiny and precarious new settlement of Massalia. Over time, various forms of economic, social, and political entanglements and transformations of culture, consciousness, and identity far exceeded anything imagined at the beginning. Recent archaeological data indicate that Mediterranean France had been undergoing a gradual process of differentiation in microregional material culture patterns since the Late Bronze Age. One other obvious question raised by the tale of the foundation of Massalia is the degree of intermarriage between Massalians and local peoples, or of other forms of gender relations between colonists and native peoples.

Keywords: Massalia; indigenous peoples; Mediterranean France; culture; consciousness; identity; material culture; gender relations; intermarriage; colonists

Chapter.  26265 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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