As intimated in the previous chapter, the use and deposition of grave-goods actively contributed to changes in the constructed space of Orientalising elite burials. In this chapter, I intend to examine specific sets of grave-goods, namely, metal vessels and bucchero ware vessels, in order to bring into focus banqueting and drinking activities which institutionalised elite political authority. I consider changing consumption practices by looking at the grave-goods of elite burials in detail and examine the ways in which these and other practices such as gift-exchange were incorporated in elite burial ritual and its related activities such as sacrifice and ritualised drinking. Ultimately, not only were banqueting and drinking public mnemonic practices generating collective memory outside the elite group, as I argue in the previous chapter, but also the very objects used in these practices, particularly inscribed bucchero pottery, were an important memno-technical medium for establishing the history and genealogy of the elite group.
Attempts at reconstructing ritual activities at Orientalising burials through grave-goods are fraught with difficulties: often little or nothing is known of the original composition of a tomb's grave-goods, and even less of the position of the objects inside the tomb due to ancient and modern looting activities, and the nonscientific nature of nineteenth-century excavations of many Orientalising tombs. Bronze vessels are particularly subject to looting due to their high intrinsic value. The corpus of intact tombs is spectacularly small as a result, and relying on incomplete data is inevitable. Even so, where possible, contextual analysis, which integrates the study of grave-goods with the funerary space to which they belong, is a vital method of analysis. Comparing grave-goods sets from different cemeteries and taking into consideration long-term ritual activities from the Early Iron Age can furthermore help circumvent these difficulties. A number of previous studies of Orientalising grave-goods, however, have focused on single classes of material: Greek imported vessels, bronze cauldrons, and other Eastern imports have often been studied in isolation, which has proved to be an obstacle to the reconstruction of ritual activities.