Butrint 5: Life and Death at a Mediterranean Port: The Non-Ceramic Finds from the Triconch Palace [Hardback]

William Bowden (Author)

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ISBN: 9781785708978 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Butrint Archaeological Monographs | Volume: 5 | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 376p, H297 x W210 (mm) b/w and colour

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Butrint 5: Life and Death at a Mediterranean Port


This is the second volume arising from the 1994–2003 excavations of the Triconch Palace at Butrint (Albania), which charted the history of a major Mediterranean waterfront site from the 2nd to the 15th centuries AD. The sequence (Butrint 3: Excavations at the Triconch Palace: Oxbow, 2011) included the development of a palatial late Roman house, followed by intensive activity between the 5th and 7th centuries involving domestic occupation, metal-working, fishing and burial. The site saw renewed activity from the 10th century, coinciding with the revival of the town of Butrint, and for the following 300 years continued in intermittent use associated with its channel-side location.

This volume reports on the finds from the site (excluding the pottery), which demonstrate the ways in which the lives, diet and material culture of a Mediterranean population changed across the arc of the late Roman and Medieval periods. It includes discussion of the environmental evidence, the human and faunal remains, metal-working evidence, and the major assemblages of glass, coins and small finds, giving an insight into the health, subsistence base and material culture of the population of a Mediterranean site across more than 1000 years. The findings raise important questions regarding the ways in which changes in the circumstances of the town affected the population between Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They illustrate in particular how an urban Roman centre became more rural during the 6th century with a population that faced major challenges in their health and living conditions.

Table of Contents

Preface – William Bowden and Richard Hodges
    1. Introduction – William Bowden
    2.       Summary of the excavated sequence
    3.       The archaeological sequence and the material evidence
    4. An investigation of the subsistence base at Butrint: the archaeobotanical evidence – Alexandra Livarda and John Giorgi  
    5.       Sampling and processing methods
    6.       Results
    7.       Discussion
    8.       Concluding remarks
    9. The faunal remains – William Bowden, Zoe Knapp, Adrienne Powell, and James Westoby
    10.       Introduction
    11.       Methods
    12.       The assemblage
    13.       The Roman/late antique period (Phases 1 to 10): 3rd century to early 7th century
    14.       Age structure and husbandry practices at the late antique Triconch Palace and Merchant’s House areas
    15.       The medieval period (Phases 12 to 15): early 10th century to 15th century and later
    16.       Age structure and husbandry practices at the medieval Triconch Palace and Merchant’s House areas
    17.       Discussion
    18.       Conclusion
    19. The human skeletons from the Triconch Palace and the Merchant’s House – Jared Beatrice, Todd Fenton, Carolyn Hurst, Lindsey Jenny, Jane Wankmiller, Michael Mutolo, Christina Rauzi, and David Foran
    20.       Introduction
    21.       Demographic profile: the Triconch Palace and Merchant’s House skeletons
    22.       The spatial arrangement of the skeletons
    23.       Skeletal palaeopathology
    24.       Discussion: living conditions at late antique and medieval Butrint
    25.       Conclusion: life and death at late antique and medieval Butrint
    26. Metalworking at the Triconch Palace and the analysis of slags and waste – Patrice de Rijk
    27.       Introduction
    28.       Iron working
    29.       Copper alloy working
    30.       Silica-rich slag
    31.       Other finds
    32.       Conclusion
    33. The ancient and early medieval coins from the Triconch Palace c. 2nd century BC to c. AD 600 – T. Sam N. Moorhead
    34.       Introduction
    35.       The condition of the coins
    36.       Coins per period
    37.       Deposition of coins
    38.       Mints
    39.       Discussion by period
    40.       Possible hoards
    41.       Conclusion
    42. The middle and late Byzantine, medieval and early modern coins – Pagona Papadopoulou
    43.       Byzantine coins (9th to 13th century)
    44.       Non-Byzantine coins (late 10th to 12th century)
    45.       Conclusion
    46. The small finds – John Mitchell
    47.       Introduction
    48.       1. Silver artefacts
    49.       2. Copper alloy artefacts
    50.       3. Iron artefacts
    51.       4. The iron nails
    52.       5. Lead artefacts
    53.       6. Glass artefacts
    54.       7. Stone artefacts
    55.       8. Ceramic artefacts
    56.       9. Worked ivory and bone
    57. The vessel glass from the Triconch Palace: a catalogue – Sarah Jennings, with additional contributions from William Bowden and Karen Stark
    58.       Introduction
    59.       The glass as deposited
    60.       The catalogue
    61. The Triconch Palace and Merchant’s House as lived environments in late antiquity – William Bowden  
    62.       The domus and Triconch Palace (pre-AD 425: Phases 1 to 4)
    63.       The 5th-century domestic occupation (AD 425–500: Phases 5 to 6)
    64.       The ‘ruralisation’ of the Triconch Palace? (AD 500–50: Phases 7 to 8)
    65.       Blacksmiths and burials (AD 550–650: Phases 9–10)
    66.       Living and dying in later 6th-century Butrint
    67.       The Triconch Palace and the archaeology of late antiquity
    68.       Conclusion
    69. Living and dying at the Triconch Palace in the Middle Ages – William Bowden
    70.       Abandonment (mid-7th to early 10th century: Phase 11)
    71.       Urban renewal, soldiers and stock rearing? (10th to 12th century: Phases 12 to 13a)
    72.       Diminishing activity and the severing of the channel link (c. 12th to 14th century: Phases 13b to 14a)
    73.       A small Venetian garrison? (c. later 14th to 16th century: Phases 14b to 15)
4.1. The human skeletal remains: supplementary material – Jared Beatrice
4.2. Summary of the human skeletal remains from the Baptistery – Jared Beatrice
6.1. Catalogue of coins from the Triconch Palace and Merchant’s House, up to c. AD 600 – T. Sam N. Moorhead
6.2. Excavated coins by context and period – T. Sam N. Moorhead
7.1. Catalogue of coins from the Triconch Palace and Merchant’s House 9th to 17th century – Pagona Papadopoulou

Reviews & Quotes

"Rigour of method and intelligence of archaeological reading make this book an excellent example of how, from the 'little forgotten things' (to take up the title of a famous text by an American archaeologist), you can think about history in its broadest sense."
Sauro Gelichi
Archeologia Medievale (15/05/2023)

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