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Sicily, Bronze Age, Aegean, Cyprus, trade

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The relationship between Sicily and the eastern Mediterranean – namely Aegean, Cyprus and the Levant – represents one of the most intriguing facets of the prehistory of the island. The frequent and periodical contact with foreign cultures were a trigger for a gradual process of socio-political evolution of the indigenous community. Such relationship, already in inception during the Neolithic and the Copper Age, grew into a cultural phenomenon ruled by complex dynamics and multiple variables that ranged from the Mid-3rd to the end of the 2nd millennium BCE. In over 1,500 years, a very large quantity of Aegean and Levantine type materials have been identified in Sicily alongside with example of unusual local material culture traditionally interpreted as resulting from external influence. To summarize all the evidence during such long period and critically address it in order to attempt historical reconstructions is a Herculean labor. Twenty years after Sebastiano Tusa embraced this challenge for the first time, this paper takes stock on two decades of new discoveries and research reassessing a vast amount of literature, mostly published in Italian and in regional journals, while also address the outcomes of new archaeometric studies. The in-depth survey offers a new perspective of general trends in this East-West relationship which conditioned the subsequent events of the Greek and Phoenician colonization of Sicily.

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Open Archaeology, v. 6, issue 1, p. 172-205

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