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Farming the Land: Colonialism and Rural Communities in the Punic West Mediterranean

Date and Time: 
Thursday, March 1, 2018. 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Archaeology Center
Archaeology--Political Landscapes: Past and Present
Meeting Description: 

Colonizers (re)write the history of the lands and people they occupy, and there are few cases where they have been as successful as in that of Carthage. Even if Hannibal at one point threatened to bring down the Roman Republic, Rome’s ultimate victory has ensured that we are remarkably poorly informed about Carthage and the Punic world of the wider Hellenistic West Mediterranean – and we know even less of the indigenous peoples who lived under Carthaginian rule. As a wealth of new archaeological evidence makes it possible to explore these suppressed histories, Peter van Dommelen will focus on the people who found themselves at the receiving end of Carthaginian power in overseas territories like Sardinia, where taxes were collected and resources exploited for the benefit of Carthage. As he will show through a detailed analysis of the rural contexts where tribute was both produced and exacted - where empire ‘met’ the colonized in the broadest sense of the terms – he argues that these rural settings offer a privileged and perhaps unique perspective on what Carthaginian imperialism and hegemony meant in practice.

Peter van Dommelen is an archaeologist studying cultural interactions and colonial connections in the ancient Mediterranean, especially in the Phoenician and Punic worlds. His research concerns topics like migration, rural households, ancient agriculture and landscapes in the (west) Mediterranean in both ancient and more recent times; they also structure long-term fieldwork and ceramic studies on the island of Sardinia (Italy). He is director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University (Providence, RI) and has held visiting professorships at the universities of Valencia (Spain), the Balearics (Spain) and Cagliari (Italy). Recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Roman Archaeology, Rivista di Studi Fenici and the Annual Review of Anthropology; they also include Rural Landscapes of the Punic World (2008, co-authored with Carlos Gómez Bellard) and The Cambridge Prehistory of the Bronze and Iron Age Mediterranean (2014, co-edited with A. Bernard Knapp). He also serves as co-editor of the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and World Archaeology.