Thesis — Brief Overview 2005
My thesis in about colonisation and identity in 1st Millennium BC Sicily. If you are an Archaeologist then colonisation was a simple process. The Greeks arrived from the eighth century and by the fifth everyone was Native or Phoenician on the island. All the natives has become ‘Hellenised’. This is a problem if you’re an Ancient Historian. Ancient History records an uprising by the native peoples against the Greeks in the middle of the fifth century BC. There must have been a defined native identity, but so far archaeologists haven’t the tools to find it.
There is also the question of how acculturation occured. The traditional approach is, in the words of Boardman “The Greeks had nothing to learn and much to teach”. The more recent generation of scholars has a more liberal approach. They argue that the natives could pick ‘n’ choose what they took from Greek culture. It’s an interesting idea, but it breaks down if you still insist the acculturation was all one-way. I’m using extelligent theory to see if there’s a way of showing a plausible model of acculturation.
This model suggests that personal idenitity is related to how you perceive the universe. So there’s not just the issue of buying the material goods, it’s a matter of how you use them. Where I live in the UK baseball bats are very common. Are the natives Americanised, or are they using them in their own way. The lack of baseball diamonds makes me think that there’s more to the bat than baseball.
In Sicily I’m looking at the temples and other civic buildings. Yes, the natives take on the Greek style but do they use them in a Greek way? The Greeks knew that for a temple to work it had to face sunrise. Fieldwork shows that this idea was followed through 100% of the time (which is a worryingly positive statistic). If native temples can be shown to ignore this then I have evidence of Greek material being used in a native way.
Also Greek cities consciously aligned superstructure astronomically. The natives may have aligned infrastructure. Greek culture has nothing to say on infrastructure until the codification of Hippodameon planning, so if native patterns of infrastructure are found in early Greek settlements, could this be evidence of native acculturation of the Greeks?