Recent excavations and theoretical advances have revealed evidence of an early and perhaps independent nucleation and centralization process in the region south of the Alps, a phenomenon that has been undervalued in previous studies. In this paper I present a broad overview and attempt to reassess the role of the Cisalpine regions as crossroads of trade and cultural transfer between the Mediterranean and central Europe through a critical evaluation of key archaeological evidence. I adopt alternative and up-to-date perspectives on the urbanization phenomenon, disentangling commonsensical and text-driven defnitions of urbanism and social formation, while challenging the outdated “check-list” approach. This theoretical framework should promote a paradigm shift that leads to a substantial backdating and broadening of the appearance of complex site agglomerations in northern Italy, avoiding unidirectional development patterns and instead looking at possible cases of instability, ephemerality, and seasonality. The adoption of a comparative perspective triggers a timely disentanglement of the simplistic equation between urbanism and social hierarchy. Beyond a narrow and selective emphasis on elites, this paper considers alternative social entities and actions, including commoners, subaltern groups, and cooperation.

The urbanization of Northern Italy : contextualizing early settlement nucleation in the Po Valley / L. Zamboni. - In: JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH. - ISSN 1573-7756. - 29:3(2021 Sep), pp. 387-430. [10.1007/s10814-020-09151-z]

The urbanization of Northern Italy : contextualizing early settlement nucleation in the Po Valley

Lorenzo Zamboni
2021-09

Abstract

Recent excavations and theoretical advances have revealed evidence of an early and perhaps independent nucleation and centralization process in the region south of the Alps, a phenomenon that has been undervalued in previous studies. In this paper I present a broad overview and attempt to reassess the role of the Cisalpine regions as crossroads of trade and cultural transfer between the Mediterranean and central Europe through a critical evaluation of key archaeological evidence. I adopt alternative and up-to-date perspectives on the urbanization phenomenon, disentangling commonsensical and text-driven defnitions of urbanism and social formation, while challenging the outdated “check-list” approach. This theoretical framework should promote a paradigm shift that leads to a substantial backdating and broadening of the appearance of complex site agglomerations in northern Italy, avoiding unidirectional development patterns and instead looking at possible cases of instability, ephemerality, and seasonality. The adoption of a comparative perspective triggers a timely disentanglement of the simplistic equation between urbanism and social hierarchy. Beyond a narrow and selective emphasis on elites, this paper considers alternative social entities and actions, including commoners, subaltern groups, and cooperation.
Bronze and Iron Age Europe; Northern Italy; Po Valley; Urbanization; Social complexity
Settore L-ANT/01 - Preistoria e Protostoria
Settore L-ANT/06 - Etruscologia e Antichita' Italiche
Settore L-ANT/10 - Metodologie della Ricerca Archeologica
13-gen-2021
JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/787721
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