Between Aphrodite-Temple and Late-Archaic House II 


» General information
» I Innovative aspect: Coloniality/locality as empowerment/de-empowerment of local elites in sanctuaries of interior contact zones
» II Hypotheses
» III Aim of the project
» IV Process for the proposed individual project ‘Between Aphrodite-temple and LA-House II (2014-2017)’
       IV.1 Area IV: In the Aphrodite-Temple and at the altar-place
       IV.2 Area I: Beneath the late-Archaic ramp
       IV.3 Area II: Exterior level north of the LA-House
       IV.4 Consumptionscapes as archaeological showcases on the counter-cultural dynamics between                           empowering coloniality and de-empowering locality
       IV.5 Objects in movement, social networking and empowerment
       IV.6 The religious sites around the Aphrodite-Temple to the east of the altar
» V Literature
» VI Staff



General information

FWF-Projekt (P 27073)

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Erich Kistler


ATRIUM - Zentrum für Alte Kulturen - Langer Weg 11

University/Research Institution:

Institute of Archaeologies 
Department of Classical and Roman Provincial Archaeology 
Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck

Approval date:






Scientific field(s):

601 History/Archaeology (50,00%)

107 Other natural sciences (40,00%)

605 Other humanities (10,00%)



Point of departure: Since the early Iron Age the cult site at the Aphrodite Temple on Monte Iato was a central arena for formation of alliances as well as for redistributing resources and prestigious goods. Over the centuries this indigenous central place was subjected to altering figurations of the colonial situation in western Sicily. At a first step, contacts with Phoenicians constituted in the 7th century B.C. the creation of a cult site as central hub in a ritualised exchange system among indigenous leaders. At a second stage, as a result of close contacts with the Greeks around 550 B.C., the ceremonial center was overbuilt by a megaron-like structure, consecrated to Aphrodite. Additional smaller sacred buildings were later added, accompanied by the steadily increasing flow of colonial imports. Finally, this colonial process culminated in the Late Archaic House, whose banqueting rooms on the upper storey anticipates around 500 B.C. the classical andrones with their platforms for klinai and plastered walls. Given this high degree of Hellenisation, the increasing tendency to cling onto an imagined ‘pre-colonial’ era of the ancestors is all the more surprising. Around 460 B.C. – probably as a consequence of incisive shifts in power in the apoikiai of colonial partners – there was a general collapse and return to a Life according to the ‘old’ order which left behind very few archaeological traces well into the early 3rd century.

Innovative aspect: Using the concept of coloniality, the phases of dominance of colonial power matrices will be grasped as the empowerment of local power structures by indigenous people aspiring for power through colonial partners. Coloniality therefore has a dual function and is moreover contrasted with the locality. This not only refers to locality lived and experienced on a daily basis but rather to a sense of belonging that is relived through the ritualised re-enactment of an ancient world from ‘pre-colonial’ times.

Approach/Methodology: In the previous project (2010-2013) the phase of colonial peak around 500 B.C. and the local reactions to it were reflected along the lines of “thick description”. The proposed successor project (2014-2017) aims at researching the period prior to this. The objective therefore is to trace the different consumptionscapes of coloniality and locality in the older archaic strata using a finely tuned archaeometry. In a concluding individual project (2018-2022) the same shall be undertaken for post-archaic layers from the Classical to Roman periods.

Objective/Hypothesis: The proposed project and the planned long-term project aim to develop and test a new perspective that helps us to consider colonisation in terms of indigenous/local empowerment which, in conflict with the de-empowering return to local authenticity, is expressed archaeologically as a dialectic process between Aphrodite Temple and Late Archaic House.


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I Innovative aspect: Coloniality/locality as empowerment/de-empowerment of local elites in sanctuaries of interior contact zones

Sanctuaries are often focal locations for the redistribution of resources and power (Schweizer 2007, 321-2; Ulf 2006). In this process, the display of extensive contacts and alliances is of enormous importance. In material terms, this may first be achieved through the conspicuous consumption of exotic goods from distant locations – embedded as ‘risk bufferings’ in the social field of traditional rites and ceremonies (Kistler 2014, 73-80; Kistler 2010, 77-79; Whitley 1991, 350-353). In situations where the contact partner is getting geographically closer, where relations with this partner are hence becoming ever more intensive, this can lead to a breakdown in the dominance of the ‘elders’ and to the founding of intergroup sanctuaries as new centres of multi-ethnic encounter. These centres would serve to develop and affirm new claims to power (Mohr 2013, 21-39; Kistler 2010, 79-86). While such considerations arise often in respect of pan-Hellenistic sanctuaries, in the case of indigenous places of worship in colonial contact zones they are still overlaid with questions regarding ethnicity, identity, indigenisation and colonialisation (Antonaccio 2013). In the planned long-term project, it is intended that these issues regarding internal religious sites as foci of colonial contact and cultural transfer should be linked to new research on sanctuaries as centres of communication and negotiation between elites, in a way that forms a superordinate grid of methods and analyses. The fulcrum and hub for this process is represented by the concept of ‘coloniality’, through which the factors and processes of power-building, which are triggered by colonial contact and which continue to be highly active during post-colonial periods, can be described from the point of view of the affected indigenous peoples (cf. González-Ruibal 2013, 3-5; Grosfoguel 2011; Morana/Dussel/Jáuregui 2008).

The concept of coloniality has the advantage that its focus is not a cultural condition but rather a social situation – indeed, the colonial situation – and that essentially asymmetries in indigenous social structures thereby lie at the centre of the concept. And from this point of view, the situation remains colonial for as long as these asymmetries persist in local life – even after the dominance and administrative structures of the colonial power have been removed (Maldonado-Torres 2007, 243; Mignolo 2000, 43). But what is the value of this post-colonial concept for research into colonial processes in the ancient Mediterranean, and specifically in the sanctuaries found within Sicily itself? Here are six hypotheses offering possible answers to this:


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II Hypotheses

1st Hypothesis: If the post-colonial situation remained ‘(post-)colonial’, despite decolonisation, then Sicily’s ‘(pre-)colonial’ period also represents a ‘(post-)colonial’ situation – for coloniality reached Sicily well before the ‘Greek Colonisation’ (Dietler 2010, 47; Albanese Procelli 2008; Dominguez 2008). Rather, it occurred with the first overseas contacts and imports that made it possible to accumulate social advancement and local prestige (Dominguez 2010, 30-33; Ulf 2009, 94; Gosden 2004, 39). And this was already the case by the time of the western expansion of the Mycenae at the latest (Chapman 2013, 35, 39; De Angelis 2012, 130; De Angelis 2010, 22-27, 31-32; Blake 2008; Leighton 1999, 6-8, 223-225).

2nd Hypothesis: The asymmetries that are created through this ‘(post/pre-)colonial situation’ derive far less from the distant relationship with overseas contact partners (De Angelis 2010, 34-40) than from the development of social inequality within the area’s own internal environment. This makes coloniality highly attractive to indigenous powerseekers as well (Dominguez 2012, 213-15; Hodos 2010, 98): it helps provide them with empowerment – or more precisely, with the power to determine who should benefit permanently from the social exclusivity of the (pre/post-)colonial situation, who should do so only sporadically and who should be totally excluded from it. (Pre/post-) coloniality is thus a key instrument of power-building, both in Big Man societies and in chiefdoms (Mullins 2011, 136-139; Dietler 2010, 63-64, 218, 220; Antonaccio 2009, 36; Ulf 200, 92-94).

3rd Hypothesis: The Janus-like flip-side of (pre/post-)coloniality is the imposed recollection of an (imagined) time preceding the first colonial contacts. By means of heirlooms, tombs and artificially aged props, embedded in the local oral tradition as assumed pieces of ancestry, feasts involve regular re-enactment of a pre-colonial authenticity and identity (Mühlenbock 2013, 401-403; Dietler 2010, 70; Antonaccio 2009, 48-50; Morris/Tusa 2004, 77; Hall 2002, 23). Seen from the ‘totality’ of globalisation research, this involves reconstructing localities as places of indigenous selflocation (Hodos 2010, 91-92; Appadurai 1996, 178-199). Locality is therefore no more a spatially fixed location than is coloniality, but rather a locus of identity in which the aspiration for an authentic indigenous world, without colonial asymmetries, is aroused. In this respect, this recollection of the (imagined) local original condition is coupled with the drive to return to this past egalitarian era and thus to hetrarchise hierarchies and to decentralise capital, defined here as de-empowerment (see also González-Ruibal 2012, 67, 80; Sigrist 2005: 176-178).

4th Hypothesis: Locality begins with coloniality – or, put another way: The aspiration for the ‘Old World’ begins with the transition to the ‘New World’, which is initiated by the ‘first’ overseas contacts (Mühlenbock 2013, esp. 408; Hodos 2010, 92). Locality and coloniality are thus two counter-cultural strategies of the discourse of power within indigenous groups in (pre/post-)colonial contact zones. The intensity of this discourse, like the dominance of one or the other strategy, is thus totally dependent on the historical figuration of the colonial process. This means that specifically in the case of western Sicily, the ‘silent trade’ with the Phoenicians, Greek colonisation, Carthaginian epicracy and the Roman occupation all produced quite different local characteristics in the reciprocal relationship between coloniality and locality (Kistler 2014, 72-99; Prag 2013; Spatafora 2013, 43).

5th Hypothesis: As situations of identity, two contrary consumptionscapes are defined by coloniality and locality (Kistler 2012, 229; Dietler 2010, 56-64; Ger/Belk 1996). In the case of the former the customs of the ‘new’ colonial situation are dominant, in the latter those of the (constructed) old local situation. At internal settlement sites – and sanctuaries (Öhlinger 2014 and 2012; Ferrer Martin 2013, Urquhart 2010) – this produces divergent material deposits in archaeological records. Where the density of finds is weighted largely towards imports and local appropriations of colonial technologies, architecture, cuisine etc., it can be assumed that the consumptionscape was based on coloniality and empowerment (see Forstenpointner/Weissengruber/Galik 2005). Where colonial elements are almost entirely absent, on the other hand, the assumption will be that the consumption-related setting was one of locality and de-empowerment (Van Dommelen/Rowlands 2012, 24). Depending on the historical figuration of the colonial power matrix, the two consumptionscapes of empowering coloniality and de-empowering locality might be influential in a single setting.

6th Hypothesis: In principle, the material traces of the consumptionscape of coloniality are easier to identify than those of locality, since the former as a rule, for reasons of empowerment, are coupled with the features of monumentality, creating better conditions for discovery and preservation, on the whole, in archaeological records. The latter, by contrast, as a result of the de-empowerment associated with them, have a tendency towards anti-monumentaility and thus to far poorer archaeological visibility (De Angelis 2010, 27). Consequently, the very evidence of such poorly preserved consumer goods requires a sort of archaeology of consumption and the deployment of every analytic means available to archaeometric research. Only then might it be possible to trace systematically the material remnants of both consumptionscapes in a single cult place.


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III Aim of the project

Through the application of Hypotheses 1 to 6, the internal religious and settlement site between the Aphrodite-Temple and the LA-House becomes an archaeological zone of exploration in which the local power discourse between empowering coloniality and de-empowering locality has led to quite different processes of archaeological formations under the various historical figurations of (pre/past)-colonial situations (in general: Dietler 2010, 70; Hodos 2010, 91-92).

The focus of the second individual project will be on the period before the first culmination of Coloniality at Iato – that is, the period before 500 BC. What was the role of the socio-religious place between the Aphrodite-Temple and the LAHouse, at the time before the LA-House or indeed the Aphrodite-Temple even existed, given that inter-regional religious activities can be shown to have taken place in this area back to the late 7th century BC? On the other hand, in comparison to this religious centre and its consumptionscape, where inter-regional networking and external influences were relevant at an early stage, what was the pattern of consumption of local and traditional goods in the surrounding contemporary strata of culture and settlement? And how was it, in this particular area and in the essentially conservative field of religion, that the monumental breakthrough of the colonial arose with the construction of the Aphrodite-Temple? All of these questions will be systematically investigated in the second individual project (2014-2017). The relevant levels of research, expected findings and their exploration from the point of view of consumption archaeology, are set out below in rather more detail.


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IV Process for the proposed individual project ‘between Aphrodite-temple and LA-House II (2014-2017)’


IV.1. Area IV: In the Aphrodite-Temple and at the altar-place

State of research: The fragment of an Ionian Little Master cup, found in the fill of a foundation ditch, indicates the construction-period of the Aphrodite-Temple to be between 550 and 525 BC (Isler 1984, 61 K1720). Three further finds of sherds of ‘Ionian’ B2-cups bowls in layer 6, sitting above the foundation ditch fill and layer 4, seemed at the time of publication to confirm this dating to the 3rd quarter of the 6th century BC (Isler 1984, 60-61). In addition, another fragment of a B2-cup – found under the altar – makes it highly probable that the altar was constructed contemporaneously with the temple (Isler 1984, 62-63 K435).

The latest studies of the LA-House have shown, however, that B2-cups were still in circulation up to 470/60 BC (S. Rainer in: Kistler/Öhlinger 2014). This now makes a revision of the building-history of the temple necessary, since layer 6, which covers the foundation ditch and layer 4 inside the temple, might not have been laid down until 500 BC or even later, rather than in the period 550-525 BC. This sheds new light on the 30 cm deep layer (layer 7) which lies above layer 6 and which has hitherto been dated only generally to the late-Archaic period, because of the absence of significant ceramics (Isler 1984, 25). Consequently, it is possible that layer 7 was constructed in the course of a second building phase at the temple during the late-Archaic period. This would be consistent with the fact that the inner wall of the adyton is built onto layer 7, whereas the outer walls of the temple have their foundation on the protohistoric ground level (layer 1), 90 cm lower down (Isler 1984, 16), which is why the adyton walls appear to be secondary constructions. It would also explain why “the eastern end of the north wall of the adyton sticks out as a corner”, protruding from the alignment of the temple’s northern wall (Isler 1984, 19).

If it is assumed that the Aphrodite-Temple was built in two phases, this raises once again the question of the altar’s construction-date (Isler 1984, 22). It might also belong to the phase when the temple was re-designed with an adyton. This would be consistent with the fact that although the supporting wall to the south of the altar-place was improved in the early Hellenistic period, the ceramic material in its backfill actually dates from around 500 BC (Isler 1984, 14, 60, 63-64).

1st hypothesis: To all appearances, the Aphrodite-Temple was converted to a megaron-like sacred building on the Greek model, with an altar at the front, only in a secondary phase around 500 BC when the LA-House was also being constructed. Previously, the Temple seems to have been a polyfunctional ‘sacred house’ without a built altar, as in the case of the oikos on the southern edge of the later agora (Isler 2009, 174-5) and of many other oikoi in the Sicilian interior (Öhlinger 2014; De Angelis 2012, 166; Romeo 1989). With the construction of the banqueting rooms of the LA-House and its direct link via the ramp to the altar, it was possible to transfer the role of the ‘sacred house’ as a feasting and gathering house away from the Aphrodite-Temple and to convert the latter thereby to a purely religious building.

Verification/falsification of the 1st hypothesis: In the temple, the backfilling of the old Sondages I, II, III and V will be once again removed and the areas that were left standing between them lowered. This will provide a continuous east-west profile in the better preserved north-western part of the temple. Since this also involves the adyton wall and threshold, it offers the opportunity for fine stratigraphic exploration of the two-phase nature of the structure, as postulated above.

In order to check the construction-period of the altar, a new sondage to the north and east of the earlier Sondage III will be made. In this way, the longitudinal profile of the temple will extend as far as the Altar, which should help to determine more precisely the relative chronology of the erection of the altar, the installation of the adyton walls, the secondary elevation of the level within the temple and the setting of its foundations.

2nd hypothesis: The new sondages will also encompass older Archaic layers that are present beneath the temple.These overlie a compacted filling of stone on which the foundations of the temple also rest (Isler 1984, 24). In all probability this is a proto-historic place of feasting on which layers of “garbage” from various sacrifices have been deposited (Stanton 2008). With the extension of the area of exploration along the entire longitudinal axis of the temple, the stratigraphic sequence of these different feast layers will be more evident. This will allow the development of a taphonomy of the feast policy that was practised on this ceremonial ground before the construction of the Aphrodite-Temple. In this context, ceramics from indigenous potteries with their incised and matt-painted decoration will be no less important than imported ceramics as index fossils in the ‘(pre-)colonial’ history of commensal politics – for the older incised ceramics themselves were ceremonial dishes which were in some cases extensively circulated under the system of ritual exchange among indigenous leaders of the western and central Sicilian interior (Kolb/Speakman 2005). If the ‘pre-colonial’ festival ground beneath the Aphrodite-Temple represented a central node in this internal network, then it can be assumed that incised ceramics of widely varying fabrication and provenance are to be found in its layers of debris.

Verification/falsification of the 2nd hypothesis: A systematic review of this hypothesis will be prepared as part of an MA thesis. To this end, incised or stamped ceramics from such layers of material or debris will be examined with reference to the diverging ‘grammar’ of their decoration. Finds from the sondages made at the time of the earlier temple excavation (1975-76) will be included here. Finally, the extent of diversity in terms of fabrication and ‘grammar’ is expected to reveal the local or inter-regional scale of the cult place before the construction of the Aphrodite-Temple. Archaeometric examinations for this purpose are already under way (cf. OENB Project 14960)


IV.2. Area I: Beneath the late-Archaic ramp

State of research: Shortly before 500 BC, the ramp wall was erected, linking the altar forecourt with the exterior level in front of the banqueting halls of the LA-House. Along with its backfill, the ramp covered up older cultural layers and architectural remains from the 6th century BC. These included the remains of a further oikos (Kistler/Öhlinger 2013, 4-6; Kistler/Öhlinger 2012, 5-6).

Hypothesis: With the preserved remains of this oikos, an older religious building seems to have been discovered which stood in the immediate vicinity of the Aphrodite-Temple but which was evidently abandoned shortly before the construction of the ramp and the LA-House. This last conclusion derives from the discovery of the edge fragment of an Attic black-figure cup (I-K 1638) in the outer level of the building, indicating that the latter was in use until the last quarter of the 6th century BC (Kistler/Öhlinger 2013, 5). As a result, the question arises: to what extent is the abandonment of the oikos under the ramp related to the conversion of the Aphrodite-Temple to a true temple with adyton and altar in about 500 BC, as postulated above? To what extent might it also reflect a consolidation of the religious process aimed at establishing an overarching claim to power, as part of which the collapse and overbuilding of the oikos can be seen as a de-empowerment of those social groups that had previously used this oikos as their cult-centre?

Verification/falsification of the hypothesis: Before the remains of the oikos under the ramp can undergo systematic examination, the oikos itself must be fully uncovered. By analogy with the dimensions of other oikos-constructions on Iato, it would be sufficient to open up a section measuring 6 x 14 metres and to remove from this the Hellenistic, Roman and mediaeval layers overlying the oikos. Only when this has been successfully completed can a systematic investigation begin into the establishment, use and abandonment of the oikos as a ‘sacred house’ in the immediate vicinity of, and probably also in competition with, the Aphrodite-Temple. To this end, the intention is also to investigate the relationship between the oikos and the older hut floor that was covered by its external areas (Kistler/Öhlinger 2013, 5-6). Did this floor perhaps belong to a cult-hut which provided not only the stratigraphic but also the religious basis for the oikos? And what is the chronological and functional relationship between this and the settlement remains with clay and lime floors located immediately to the west of the Aphrodite-Temple, which have similarly come to light beneath the ramp surface (cf. Kistler-Öhlinger 2012, 4; 2011, 2)? It will be necessary to explore in more detail the remaining cultural layers that still survive beneath the ramp, in order to tackle these questions.


IV.3. Area II: Exterior level north of the LA-House

State of research: Beneath the exterior level of the LA-House, an early Archaic hut-complex has been uncovered consisting of a four-sided main room and a collapsed rounded annexe. Its walls, entirely in stone, are single-leaf and of dry-stone construction. Despite its right-angled shape, the north-east corner of the main room is rounded on the outside (Kistler/Öhlinger 2012, 9-10). On the one hand, therefore, the walls of this hut-complex suggest a ‘pre-colonial’ date earlier than the double-leaf-construction-technique of the Agora Houses I (550 BC). On the other hand, they are considerably more sophisticated in constructional terms, and therefore probably more recent than the rudimentary bed stones of the proto-historic hut (late 7th century BC) in the city’s later eastern quarter (Isler 2009, 152). If this sequence of construction-typology is correct, then the two-roomed hut-construction found under the exterior level belongs at the heart of the transition phase between living in huts and settling in durable rectangular stone buildings. Revealingly, the remains of such hut-like houses, with single-leaf walls and compacted clay floors, have also come to light beneath the south-east corner of the LA-House (Isler 2007, 112) as well as to the north of its northern section and on the northern edge of its exterior level (Kistler/Öhlinger 2013, 10).

Hypothesis: The transition from settlement in often temporary huts to permanent habitation in right-angled stone and clay-tiled houses may be regarded as an epochal transformation process that is associated with increasing craft specialisation, a surplus-based economy and social differentiation (Kistler 2011, 146-148; Leighton 2000, 35). If the classification, in terms of constructional and habitational typology, of the early Archaic structural remains with their singleleaf walls proves to coincide with this transitional phase, then the switch in settlement culture on Iato would have taken place during the first half of the 6th century BC and would thus be contemporaneous with the layers of debris on the festival ground beneath the Aphrodite-Temple. This provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the causal relationship between this process of historical transformation in settlement and the increasing density of contact with the Phoenician and Greek world. In this way, it would be possible for the first time in Archaic western Sicily to provide a rich description of the growth in coloniality and its causal relationship to religion and power-building, from the internal perspective of an indigenous empowerment (Leighton 1999, 262-3).

Verification/falsification of the hypothesis: It will be necessary to investigate in more detail the remains of the early Archaic hut-complex and its associated exterior level, as well as the underlying cultural and settlement layers to the north of the LA-House. These will in any event provide deeper insights into zones of activity within and outside the two-roomed hut-complex. The focus should be as much on the matter of a continuum of rites and local consumption habits as on the issue of fields and functions of religious customs inside and outside the house. To this end, the other, less well-preserved remains of huts with single-leaf walls in the area of the LA-House should be included in the investigation.


IV.4. Consumptionscapes as archaeological showcases on the counter-cultural dynamics between empowering coloniality and de-empowering locality

State of research and goals: The field works planned for the project will, in addition to tackling the questions of building history, also establish a material archive that can provide a wealth of information regarding divergences and convergences in the politics of consumption and identity below and within the Aphrodite-Temple. These material repositories of consumptionscapes should then make it possible to determine whether and how the increasing interregional significance of the cult place was associated with a growth in the presence of the colonial, prompting conversely a ritual re-enactment of local authenticity and identity.

For the archaeological exploration of this consumptionscape, a proper archaeology of consumption is needed (Majewski/Schiffer 2009). This includes all the scientific approaches that are necessary in order to reconstruct the patterns of consumption that have resulted in a specific set of finds as the material depositions of a consumptionscape (Forstenpointner/Galik/Weissengruber 2010, 357). In addition to the now standardised methods of archaeological fieldwork, such approaches will include the determination of archaeometric provenance and environment as well as archaeo-botany, archaeo-zoology and chemical laboratory analysis of organic remains. Of the highest priority here is the securing of evidence directly ‘in the field’, so that the extent of biases in the trace analysis can be determined and factored in. Archaeological field research thus needs to be organised not only from a stratigraphic and structural point of view: the question of the possible association between finds and organic remains must be similarly kept in focus, requiring a combination of ceramological analysis and chemical substance analysis. Appropriate local specialists who can bring their expert knowledge to the research strategy on a permanent basis are thus essential, if the evidence of convergent and divergent consumptionscapes in the uncovered finds is to be optimally secured.

Implementation and issues I (Bio-archaeology): In the completed project, thanks to the cooperation of U. Thanheiser, G. Forstenpointner and G. Weissengruber in the area of the bio-archaeology, it has already been possible to implement an extensive piece of ‘crime-scene archaeology’ in order to identify various consumptionscapes ‘between the Aphrodite-Temple and the LA-House’ and to set up the necessary infrastructure for future projects (U. Thanheiser, G. Forstenpointner/G. Weissengruber in Kistler/Öhlinger 2014).

Implementation and issues II (Chemical Laboratory Analysis): The chemical analysis of organic residues, on the other hand, represents fairly new territory at Iato and will provide more data on local use of ceramics in everyday activities. Targeted sampling and analysis of organic residues on the surfaces and in the pores of sherds is expected not only to generate more accurate insights into the storage, preparation and consumption of foods; in addition, in combination with studies of the monochrome fine and everyday pottery and balanced with bio-archaeological research findings, it should also be possible to explore which material consumptionscape deposits contain traces of external cultural influences – and thus of coloniality – in the fields of nutritional and eating habits. Equally, it will explore the question of which finds or material figurations of consumptionscapes provide no such culinary evidence, where the cuisine has remained local and traditional.


IV.5. Objects in movement, social networking and empowerment (Antonaccio 2013, 244-249; Knapp/Van Dommelen 2010)

IV.5.1. Attic black- and red-figure ceramics: In the Archaic cultural layers in the area of the Aphrodite-Temple, a series of high-class black- and red-figure pieces from Athens was brought to light, of a quality found nowhere else on Iato. The distribution and consumption of early red-figure pieces from Athens in the western Mediterranean was apparently very selective and, with the exception of Etruria (Reusser 2002), was generally linked to cult places of inter-regional or colonial significance
IV.5.2. Metal finds (in cooperation with Holger Baitinger): Metal finds themselves can also be researched as index fossils of consumption, which raises awareness of the generally under-rated possibilities of ‘breaks’ in the life histories of valuable objects. These can often range from prestigious gifts made to a host at the end of a long chain of gifts, through pre-monetary symbola to recyclable scrap, irrespective of their primary function as weapons, banqueting implements or costume accessories. Aside from the primary functional dimensions, the life histories of bronze objects often allow conclusions to be drawn on the local or interregional scale of religious sites and thus on the powerful interplay between empowerment and de-empowerment.

IV.5.3. Loom weights, spindles and needles (in cooperation with Hedvig Landenius Enegren): Tools for the manufacture of textiles not only provide an insight into the technological conditioning of local population groups when they make contact with outside cultures. Through the ‘stuff of gifts’, the local culture and inter-regional politics of gift-giving and reciprocal obligations operate in just the same way in formative societies. As the votive-like laying down of loom weights on the upper floor of the LA-House on Monte Iato indicates, individual loom weights were used as pars pro toto symbols of the highly important significance of woven fabric gifts and societal bonds (H. Landenius Enegren in Kistler/Öhlinger 2014). 


IV.6. The religious sites around the Aphrodite-Temple to the east of the altar (in cooperation with Christoph Reusser and Martin Mohr)

In the style of Clifford Geertz’s ‘Thick Description’, all possible dimensions of cultural history and archaeological repositories at the Aphrodite-Temple will be researched and examined for answers to the problem of coloniality/empowerment versus locality/de-empowerment. This consumption-related approach makes a comprehensive examination of the religious area around the Aphrodite-Temple, following a joint review of documentation and analysis, an essential prerequisite. For this reason, in close cooperation with the proposed Innsbruck project, the Archaic cult-buildings K, M and N will be subjected to further archaeological field investigation, along with the associated older strata east of the Aphrodite-Temple, through the Zurich Ietas excavation under the scientific leadership of Christoph Reusser and Martin Mohr (see also Reusser et al. 2013, 74-76). 


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V Literature


Albanese Procelli 2008 = R. M. Albanese Procelli, La Sicilia tra Oriente e Occidente: interrelazioni mediterranee durante la protostoria recente, in: S. Celestino/N. Rafel/X.-L. Armada (eds.), Contacto cultural entre el Mediterráneo y el Atlántico (siglos XII-VIII ane). La precolonización a debate, Madrid 2008, 403-416


Antonaccio 2013 = C. M. Antonaccio, Networking the Middle Ground? The Greek Diaspora, Tenth to Fifth Century BC, in: Archaeological Review from Cambridge 28.1, 2013, 237-251


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VI Staff 

Principal Investigator 

Prof. Dr. E. Kistler:


Mag.a B. Öhlinger:



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