Collapse or Survival: Micro-dynamics of crisis and endurance in the ancient central Mediterranean [Hardback]

Elisa Perego (Editor); Rafael Scopacasa (Editor); Silvia Amicone (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789251005 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 208p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w

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Collapse or Survival


In the present-day world order, political disintegration, the faltering of economic systems, the controversial and yet dramatic consequences of global warming and pollution, and the spread of poverty and social disruption in Western countries have rendered ‘collapse’ one of the hottest topics in the humanities and social sciences. In the frenetic run for identifying the global causes and large-scale consequences of collapse, however, instances of crisis taking place at the micro-scale are not always explored by scholars addressing these issues in present and past societies, while the ‘voices’ of the marginal/non-élite subjects that might be the main victims of collapse are often silenced in ancient history and archaeology.

Within this framework Collapse or Survival explores localised phenomena of crisis, unrest and survival in the ancient Mediterranean, with a focus on the first millennium BC. In a time span characterised by unprecedented high levels of dynamism, mobility and social change throughout that region, the area selected for analysis represents a unique convergence point where states rise and fall, long-distance trade networks develop and disintegrate, and patterns of human mobility catalyse cultural change at different rates. The central Mediterranean also comprises a wealth of recently excavated and highly contextualised material evidence, casting new light on the agency of individuals and groups who endeavoured to cope with crisis situations in different geographical and temporal settings.

Contributors provide novel definitions of ‘collapse’ and reconsider notions of crisis and social change by taking a broader perspective that is not necessarily centred on élites. Individual chapters analyse how both high-status and non-élite social agents responded to socio-political rupture, unrest, depopulation, economic crisis, the disintegration of kinship systems, interruption in long-term trade networks, and destruction in war.

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
Preface and acknowledgments
Introduction. Collapse or survival? Crisis and social change in the
ancient central Mediterranean
Elisa Perego, Rafael Scopacasa and Silvia Amicone
1. Micro-dynamics of crisis following disaster events in late Bronze and
Iron Age northern Italy
Elisa Perego and Rafael Scopacasa
2. Taphonomic approaches to funerary evidence in times of collapse
and crisis
Veronica Tamorri
3. Back to Manfria: Continuity or disruption in the countryside of
Gela in the fourth century BC
Claudia Lambrugo, Lars Heinze and Silvia Amicone
4. Beyond the graves: Crisis and continuity in
the Hellenistic funerary contexts from the Calvario cemetery (Tarquinia)
Vera Zanoni
5. Crisis and decline in Morgantina under Roman rule: A reassessment
Monika Trümper
6. ‘What on earth became of them all?’ Continuity and change in
Macedonian society after the Roman conquest
Frank Daubner
Finale. Micro-collapse and marginality: Looking to the future
Elisa Perego and Rafael Scopacasa

Reviews & Quotes

"…very thought-provoking, as publications edited by Perego and Scopacasa usually are. […] by focusing on the bearing of collapse on groups other than the elite, the contributions expand our understanding and allow for more nuanced interpretations."
Gocha R Tsetskhladze
Ancient West & East

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