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Investigating material culture (dis)continuities of Iron Age insular communities of Eastern Adriatic at the time of Greek settlement

The Adriatic seascape, as the Mediterranean’s northernmost extension, has long been an important crossroad of cultural exchanges between the East and the West. Here, connectivity and insularity served to link diverse peoples and cultures, with regional connectivity reaching its peak during the Iron Age. Concurrently, the Greeks embarked on extensive overseas journeys and established numerous settlements across the Mediterranean. One fascinating example to explore the dynamics between the locals and Greek colonists is the island of Hvar in central Dalmatia, which offers valuable insights through the examination of ceramic material culture. Using a range of traditional and state-of-the-art microscopic and spectroscopic analyses, a wide range of Greek and local Iron Age coarseware from the Greek colony of Pharos and local indigenous settlements was examined, with a particular emphasis on the practices involved in raw materials selection. A novel method for collecting elemental concentration data was implemented, which concentrates exclusively on the clayey substrate. This approach effectively mitigates any potential bias arising from the tempering of clay paste. Additionally, we conducted a geological survey of the island to identify plausible raw material deposits, considering that coarseware was predominantly produced locally. The findings of our study provide fresh perspectives on the lives of protohistoric local communities and their interactions with Greek settlers for whom the island of Hvar served as a hub from which Hellenistic culture spread throughout the insular and coastal Adriatic regions and beyond.


Branimir Segvic1, Emily Doyle1, Marina Ugarkovic2
1Texas Tech University, Department of Geosciences, Lubbock TX 79409, United States of America; 2Institute of Archaeology, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
GeoBerlin 2023