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SARDINIA AND CYPRUS: AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW ON CYPRIOTES IN THE CENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2017

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Abstract

Recent research reveals what we term a ‘discourse of certainty’ regarding an assumed predominant socio-economic and cultural impact of Late Bronze Age Cypriotes or Mycenaeans on the local peoples of Sardinia and/or Sicily and Italy, not least in terms of a systematic, seaborne trading network extending from the Cyprus to the Tyrrhenian Sea. ‘Minimalist’ approaches to such a phenomenon have a long and venerable but more limited pedigree. In this study, we question why minimalist views have been so summarily dismissed in much current literature that seeks to evaluate an eastern Mediterranean presence or influence in the central Mediterranean. We focus on Sardinia, and on the range of Cypriot or ‘Cypriot-type’ materials found there. We consider the nature of the Cypriot–Sardinian relationship, and suggest that we should decouple foreign objects from foreign agents. We question several of the perceived Cypriot influences on Sardinian artefacts, and consider possible alternative mechanisms and routes of exchange between the east and central Mediterranean. We outline and discuss the array of presumed or actual Cypriot artefacts found on Sardinia, and argue that these do not add up to a ‘significant’ corpus of Late Cypriot materials and connections.

Recenti ricerche indicano come sia riconoscibile un predominante ipotetico impatto socioeconomico e culturale cipriota o miceneo sulle popolazioni locali della Sardegna e/o della Sicilia e dell'Italia nella Tarda Età del Bronzo, non da ultimo anche come conseguenza di un network commerciale marino che si estendeva da Cipro al mar Tirreno. Approcci di tipo ‘minimalistico’ a questo fenomeno hanno un pedigree prestigioso e consistente, seppure più limitato. In questo studio si intende discutere le ragioni per le quali le visioni minimaliste sono state così sommariamente rigettate in buona parte della letteratura corrente che cerca di valutare una presenza o influenza mediterranea orientale nel Mediterraneo centrale. Ci si focalizza in particolar modo sulla Sardegna e sui materiali ciprioti o di ‘tipo cipriota’ lì rinvenuti. Si prende in considerazione la natura delle relazioni sardo-cipriote e si avanza l'ipotesi che si dovrebbero disgiungere gli oggetti stranieri dagli ‘agenti’ stranieri. Si mettono in discussione molte delle influenze cipriote supposte/percepite sui manufatti sardi e si considerano possibili meccanismi alternativi e diversi percorsi di scambio tra il Mediterraneo orientale e centrale. Si delinea e discute inoltre la gamma di manufatti ciprioti presunti o effettivi rinvenuti in Sardegna e si sostiene come questi concorrano realmente a non delineare affatto un significativo corpus di materiali e connessioni tardo ciprioti.

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Copyright © British School at Rome 2017 

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