On Friday, February 21, 12-1 p.m., Giulia Saltini Semerari, research affiliate at UMMAA, will speak in Room 2218, School of Education Building, as part of the UMMAA Brown Bag Lecture Series.

In Semerari’s talk, “Culture contact dynamics in the Iron Age central Mediterranean: new approaches and new data,” she will discuss her fieldwork projects in southern Italy and how her research there adds to our understanding of migration, contact and settlement in the region during the Iron Age.

At the end of the Early Iron Age (8th-7th centuries BC), one of the most impactful migrations in Mediterranean history cast settlers from the Aegean as far as the Black Sea and Spain, transforming the geopolitical and economic landscape of the Mediterranean. However, its importance as a key case study for understanding how contact shaped the ancient world is proportional to the degree of controversy surrounding its interpretation. This has pitted traditional views of Aegean settlers as hegemonic conquerors of passive indigenous populations against postcolonial views of more complex processes of contact and integration. The most recent results of Semerari’s two fieldwork projects in southern Italy bring new important data to this debate: (1) the excavation of the site of Incoronata, an indigenous center with strong evidence of co-existence between newcomers and the local community, allows researchers to identify how space, beliefs and know-how were shared at the site; and (2) bioarchaeological analyses conducted in the region provide much-needed demographic information, upending many of the assumptions held so far and opening up new questions. Both lines of research identify local agency as the main driver for these interaction dynamics.

The Museum’s Brown Bag Lecture Series is free and open to the public.