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Archeologia della pastorizia nell'Europa meridionale, 2 vols.

These two volumes are the proceedings of a conference held in 1989 on pastoralism in southern Europe, held most appropriately at a central point where the Apennine mountains meet the sea. The 32 contributions combine archaeological, ethnographic and environmental approaches to the study of pastoralism and demonstrate the great strength and variety of current work led by Italian and British scholars. This Anglo-Italian emphasis is to a certain extent a reflection of the editors of the conference, but carries with it a not unfair correspondence to some of the major work currently undertaken in this field.

The main geographical emphasis of the volume derives from the location of the conference: Italy. However, this is essentially a northern and central Italy, with little representation from the south in spite of its pastoral traditions. Only few papers go further afield into Greece, the Balkans, Corsica and France, generally carried to Italy by Anglo-American scholars. The Iberian peninsula is notably missing from the overall picture, reflecting lack of contact with German and Spanish traditions (Zobl 1982; Harrison 1985). The volume should not be confused with a pastoralism of the Mediterranean, since the southern rim -- with its different characteristics -- is not included.

The contributions to the two volumes do not seek to concentrate on the questions of domestication but rather on the interaction of pastoral societies with increasingly complex socioeconomic systems. This leads the discussion to range over a broad chronological range from the Bronze Age to Medieval, with a glimpse at the Neolithic and a more extensive ethnoarchaeological perusal of modern practices.

The second ethnoarchaeological section represents one of the areas of strength of current research. These papers address the questions of the recognition of pastoralism and the historical depth of modern practices in Greece, Italy and Corsica. Halstead, working in Greece, emphasizes that the environment alone is insufficient and that historical context must also be considered. Italian prehistorians appear to take a less cautious approach.

The Ligurian region deserves special mention as a centre of effective interdisciplinary study of the problems of pastoralism at this current moment. Surface survey and excavation of high standard (Maggi 1990) are being combined with sciencebased archaeology and palaeoenvironmental study to provide detailed knowledge of a micro-region. However, the lack of preservation of faunal remains through high soil acidity is a serious problem. This is a more general weakness in the study of prehistoric pastoralism in central Italy where only a few samples (e.g.. Gubbio: Malone & Stoddart in press) have more than a few thousand identified specimens, in contrast to the wealth of evidence from northern Europe.

The palaeoenvironmental section emphasizes the variety of approaches to study of pastoralism and provides further evidence for Liguria as a leading study area. One paper studies the effect of pastoralism on the micromorphology of soils. Further articles from Liguria and the Italian Alps indicate the effectiveness of multiple pollen cores in building up a regional picture which will allow comparison with similar sequences in Spain. Detailed regional studies of this type, combining archaeological and environmental information, point the way to further advances.

The contributions to the volumes represent a serious attempt to outline definitions of the problem (most particularly ethnoarchaeologically) and to search for data to test the problems once they have been defined. As might be expected in a conference proceedings, not all the papers make an original contribution, but the fact that a high proportion do contain much originality suggests the high quality of the research in hand.

SIMON STODDART Department of Classics & Archaeology University of Bristol

References

HARRISON, R.J. 1985. The `Policultivo Ganadero', or the Secondary Products Revolution in Spanish Agriculture, 5000-1000 bc, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 51: 75-102.

MAGGI, R. (ed.). 1990. Archeologia dell' Appennino Ligure. Gli scavi del Castellaro di Uscio: un insediamento di Crinale occupato dal neolitico alla conquista Romana. Bordighera: Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri. Collezione di Monografie preistoriche ed archeologiche 8.

MALONE, C.A.T. & S.K.F. STODDART (ed.). In press. Territory, time and state: the archaeological development of the Gubbio basin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ZOBL, D. 1982. Die Transhumanz (Wanderschafthaltung) der europaischen Mittelmeerlander im Mittelalter in historischer, geographischer und volkskundlicher Sicht. Berlin: Berliner Geographischer Studien. Band 10.
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Author:Stoddart, Simon
Publication:Antiquity
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:701
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