Population Movement and Identity in Southern Italy from Prehistory to the Medieval Period
Southern Italy has been an area of convergence for populations in the Mediterranean region, and beyond, from the prehistoric period up to the present, with the ongoing influx of migrants and refugees into mainland Europe through its southern ports. Not surprisingly, the history of southern Italy is characterized by early human occupation with the presence of Neanderthal fossils in Altamura and repeated contacts with later populations. There is extensive archaeological evidence for contact with Mycenaean Greece in the Bronze Age and the eventual colonization of southern Italy by the Greeks in the 8th century B.C. The term ‘diaspora’ originally comes from the Greek word to describe the dispersal of humans.
The rise and eventual expansion of the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean region made southern Italy an essential point of trade and migration in the region. My research project will use stable isotope analysis to explore population mobility in southern Italy during critical periods of political and social upheaval between the late Iron Age and Roman periods, and the eventual decline of the Roman Empire. This research will be placed within the larger historical and archaeological context of population movement and population history in the Mediterranean region, as studied by the other two Theme Group members.
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