Date of Award

December 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Bettina Arnold

Committee Members

Michael J. Kolb, John D. Richards, Jason Sherman, Derek B. Counts, Glen Fredlund


Compositional Analysis, Elymi, Hybridity, Mixed-Style Pottery, Sicily, Social Entanglement


Following the arrival of Greek colonists and Phoenician traders in the seventh century BC, indigenous Iron Age Sicilian populations underwent an intensive process of social transformation. As a result, many new behaviors, including those associated with Greek-style feasting and commensality, were introduced to indigenous Sicilians, together with the associated material culture. This study explores Iron Age indigenous Sicilian social responses to these interactions, focusing on the feast as a conduit of change and the concomitant transformation of feasting accoutrements. Vessel form, manufacturing technique, and surface treatment impact the emblemic ceramic styles used to communicate ethnic affiliations in the various social middle grounds that developed to mitigate cultural differences. These morphologic variables are compared in order to identify mixed-style vessels resulting from social entanglement. Social as well as economic interpretations of the development of mixed-style pottery are posited. Compositional X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and ceramic petrography of a sub-sample of pottery vessels from seven sites across the island are used to model and map the production and manufacture of mixed-style feasting vessels. The

results of this study suggest that economic as well as social forces led to the development of mixed-style vessels manufactured at multiple population centers in response to interactions with foreign colonists and merchants.