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PICCIONE, P., COPAT, V. and COSTA, A. - Castelluccio painted pottery: stylistic variability and symbolical communication

AUTHORS

Paola Piccione, Valentina Copat, Annalisa Costa

CATEGORY

Article

LANGUAGE

English

ABSTRACT

The paper shows the results of an analysis on the ceramic design of the Castelluccio painted pottery. The authors have first identified basic motifs and their arrangements, then they have considered stylistic variation, analysing behavioural patterns in relation to different decorative elements. The study shows how some of them are attested only in restricted areas, while others display a wider range of diffusion. It has been possible to highlight how wide diffused decorative elements could often be differently used in different clusters of sites, for what concerns their arrangement in the decorative space. In a global perspective, the analysis allows to recognize a pattern of interaction between sites based on short or middle range multidirectional contacts, where each site seems to re-elaborate autonomously a shared stylistic repertory.
 

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INTRODUCTION (A.C.)

The so-called facies of Castelluccio spreads over a broad area of Sicily between the end of the III and the half of the II millennium BC. The study of the painted decoration of Castelluccio ceramics has led several scholars to identify, within a broadly shared stylistic repertoire, a variability amongst the shape of pots and their decoration. In particular, many scholars have pointed to the possibility of recognising and distinguishing different stylistic groups, which could be interpreted as the result of territorial and/or chronological variability during this long-lasting facies (Bernabò Brea 1953-1954; Cultraro 1996, 1997; Tusa 1983). Unfortunately, due to the general lack of both stratigraphic sequences [1] and absolute dates in the region [2], a precise definition of the eventual different phases among this facies still requires elaboration. New data, resulting from recent investigations and the discovery of new sites with abundant collections of material, allow a reexamination of this issue and of the stylistic subdivisions that have been suggested in the past.

The analysis of the decoration of pottery has already shown in several cases to be highly informative in helping to reconstruct the characteristics of past societies: in fact, on one side it is possible to investigate the modes in which the communities that produced and used these artifacts adhered to socially accepted rules/norms; while on the other hand decoration can be seen as an active vehicle of information and communication (De Boer 1984; Graves 1991; Hardin 1984; Hodder 1991; Wobst 1977).

 

CASTELLUCCIO PAINTED POTTERY: DECORATION AND SPACE (A.C.)

The aim of the present article is to discuss the results of an ongoing stylistic analysis carried out by the authors on a wide corpus of Castelluccio painted ceramics. Furthermore, we wish to propose a methodological means for a better detailed study of style and decoration of pottery (see also Copat et al.  2008; Copat et al. in press; Costa et al.  in press). Up until now, our work has focused on all the published materials recovered from the main sites that belong to this facies, together with a series of unpublished items, which are displayed in two of the main archaeological museums of Sicily: the Civic Museum of Adrano (collections of the sites of Grotta Pietralunga, Grotta Pellegriti, Grotta Maccarrone e Scarico Sapienza) and the P. Orsi Museum of Syracuse (collections of the sites of Castelluccio, Monte Tabuto, Monte Sallia, Monte Racello and Cava Cana Barbara). It is foreseen that thisresearch will be constantly updated, especially following the publication of new complexes and further analysis by the authors of other museum collections.

The current sample includes an overall quantity of 800 items, mostly consisting of whole or almost whole pots, together with some potsherds, the decoration of which was sufficiently preserved and useful to give information about the subject of this research. It must be stressed, however, that due to the scarcity of published ceramics from some areas, the sample does not reflect homogeneously the entire territory of Sicily (Fig. 1; Tab. 1).  The first step of analysis has been the selection of a series of basic decorative elements, the ‘minimum units’: these may correspond to repetitive behavior, can also assume different orientations in the decorated space and, combining with each other, form the decoration of the pots.

Fig. 1 – Castelluccio’s sites map.

 

 

SITE

PR

Number of containers

BIBLIOGRAFIA

1

Marcita

TP

6

Tusa 1997

2

Torre Cusa

TP

1

Prima Sicilia

3

Vallone San Martino

TP

3

Mannino 1994

4

Cisternazza Vallesecco

TP

5

Prima Sicilia; Tusa 1994

5

Partanna

TP

21

Tusa e Pacci 1990

6

Contrada Stretto

TP

1

Prima Sicilia

7

Torre Donzelle

TP

8

Mannino 1994

8

Contrada  Pergola

TP

3

Mannino 1971

9

Contrada S. Bartolo

AG

3

De Miro 1967

10

Monte Sara

AG

3

Orsi 1895

11

Stipe del Ciavolaro

AG

27

Castellana 1996a

12

Monserrato

AG

9

De Gregorio 1917

13

Monteaperto

AG

9

Bernabò Brea 1953-1954; Orsi 1897

14

Favara

AG

12

Castellana 1997

15

Grotta Ticchiara

AG

87

Castellana 1997

16

Naro

AG

50

Tusa e Pacci 1990

17

Monte Grande

AG

41

Castellana 1996b, Castellana 1997, 1998

18

Contrada Ragusetta

AG

3

De Miro 1962

19

Canicattì

AG

4

Pacci 1987

20

Palma di Montechiaro

AG

7

Castellana 2000

21

Casalicchio-Agnone

AG

4

Gnesotto 1982

22

Muculufa

AG

99

Holloway et al. 1900; Mconnell e Morico 1990; McConnell et al. 1995

23

Montagna Solfarella

CL

1

Iannì 2007

24

Montagna di Sommatino

CL

2

Iannì 2007

25

Monte Calvario

CL

29

Iannì 2007

26

Castellazzo

CL

9

Iannì 2007

27

San Giuseppe di Gallitano

CL

1

Iannì 2007

28

Pizzo San Giusepe

CL

5

Iannì 2007

29

Monte del Gesso

CL

4

Iannì 2007

30

Collina di Passarello

AG

3

Mauceri 1990

31

Sabucina

CL

4

Sedita Migliore 1981

32

Manfria

CL

48

Orlandini 1962

33

Mulino a Vento

CL

2

Adamesteanu e Orlandini  1956

34

Monte Moschitta

CT

2

Amoroso 1979

35

Piano dell'Angelo

CT

7

Amoroso 1979

36

Santa Croce Camerina

RG

4

Scorfani 1972-1973

37

Contrada Paolina

RG

13

Procelli 1981

38

Castiglione

RG

6

Gabba e Vallet 1992; Pelagatti 1973

39

Monte Racello

RG

12

Orsi 1898; Museo P. Orsi -Sr

40

Monte Sallia

RG

17

Orsi 1923; Museo P. Orsi -Sr

41

Monte Tabuto

RG

26

Orsi 1898; 1932; Pennevaria 1835; Museo P. Orsi -Sr

42

Castelluccio

SR

29

Orsi 1892, 1893; Museo P. Orsi (Sr)

43

Grotta Lazzaro

RG

5

Di Stefano 1979

44

Cava Bernardina

SR

2

Orsi 1891

45

Cava Cana Barbara

SR

4

Prima Sicilia, Orsi 1902, Museo P. Orsi (Sr)  

46

Ossini San Lio

CT

8

Lagona 1971

47

Passanatello

SR

2

Bernabò Brea 1973

48

Santa Febronia

CT

6

Maniscalco 1993-1994; 1997-1998

49

Biancavilla

CT

2

Orsi 1930-1931

50

Grotta di Pietralunga

CT

27

Museo Civico di Adrano

51

Grotta Pellegriti

CT

24

Museo Civico di Adrano

52

Grotta Maccarrone

CT

4

Museo Civico di Adrano

53

Scarico Sapienza

CT

49

Museo Civico di Adrano

54

Grotta del Maniace

CT

1

Sluga Messina 1971

 

Area etnea

CT

24

Cultraro 2004

 

Collezione di Oxford

-

6

Pacci 1987

 

Table 1 - Sites in Fig. 1.

 

So far, the analysis of the ceramic sample - which includes both published and unpublished vessels - has led to the identification of 80 decorative elements (Fig. 2). This number is not definitive and will probably increase with the enlargement of the sample. All elements have been defined by adopting a non-hierarchical criterion of classification [3], as decorative function of single elements varies from case to case. These can be used either as structural parts of the motifs included in the decorative spaces, or as simple fillings of these spaces, or  alternatively as main décor in parts of the pots that are not strictly defined. In this phase it was easier to identify some of the elements, such as triangles or lozenges, whose background can be painted with different types of fillings (Fig. 2 n. 28-30, 38-41). The distinction of some other decoration, such as the various types of reticulated bands, has been more difficult. In such cases the criterion for identifying the elements and separating them from each other was based on the different types of reticule (an irreducible element) and on the orientation of the bands (Fig. 2 n. 53-66, 78).

Fig. 2 – Basic decorative elements in Castelluccio painted pottery.

 

At this point the analysis has considered the ways in which such elements are arranged in the decorative space to create more complex configurations. Regarding the ceramics of the Castelluccio facies, past analytical studies for breaking down the decorative syntax of ceramics were carried out by Sluga Messina, who attempted a general overview (Sluga Messina 1983). More recently by Tinè (Tinè 1997) and Lukesh (Lukesh 1995) dealt with single contexts instead. All of these scholars have followed a methodological process that has a long research tradition particularly in the English-speaking scholarship (see Washburn 1983 and Plog 1980). In this phase of the research, it has been possible to notice that in several cases different elements behave according to analogous configurations, such as: translation along a vertical or a horizontal axis  (series can either be or not be continuous); rotation around a point; “simple” - i.e. specular - reflection or reflection combined with a sliding along one of the axes (for some examples see Fig. 6; Copat et al. 2008 Fig. 5-6, 10-11, 13-14; Copat et al. in press Figs. 2-3).

 

DECORATIVE ELEMENTS IN SPACE (V.C.)

Another important part of the research has been dedicated to the territorial distribution of elements and configurations. Concerning decorative elements, it has been observed that many of them seem to be part of a common repertoire that has a wide distribution on a regional scale. These collective features have been partly discussed previously both in general terms and in relation to specific decorative elements and their configurations. In particular triangles (Fig. 2 n. 28-30), lozenges (Fig. 2 n. 38-40) and angular elements (Fig. 2 n. 23-26) have already been discussed in further detail (Copat et al.  2008). The aim of this is paper is to explore behavioral patterns in relation to other decorative elements that have not been considered before or only discussed preliminarily without a complete graphic documentation (Copat et al. in press). 

Very few elements are exclusive to restricted areas: one of them is the triangle filled with oblique segments, that is recorded only in western Sicily and namely in the area between the rivers Belice and Platani, where various configurations of this element are utilized indiscriminately in several sites (as already stated in previous papers - Copat et al. 2008: Fig. 5-6B; Copat at alii in press: Fig. 2B). Such an element has been recorded out of this area only in a few cases: on a vessel belonging to the Naro collection (Tusa, Pacci 1990 n. 3) and on two pots coming from the collection of the Oxford Ashmolean Museum, whose provenance is unknown [4]. This datum is then coherent with the observed trend (Pacci 1987: Fig. 16, 22).

In central-southern Sicily it has also been possible to recognise a few elements that seem to be exclusive to this area, such as the flopping element (Fig. 2 n. 33), which has been recorded in a series of adjacent sites, including the Muculufa (Fig. 3 n. 1-2, 5, 8-9), the area of Canicattì (Fig. 3 n. 6-7), Monte Grande (Fig. 3 n. 3) and Collina di Passatello (Mauceri 1880: tav. AB.5). A rectangle filled with segments that are parallel to its orientation (Fig. 2 n. 77) seems to be peculiar to this region as well, as it has been recorded on 10 vases, mostly from Grotta Ticchiara. One exception, from Balata, which is located further east from the above-mentioned sites  (Terranova 2008: Fig. 8 n. 12,b), has been found, with a motif analogous to the one on a fragment from Muculufa (Fig. 4 n. 6), the closest site, among those where the element is attested. In the other sites (Grotta Ticchiara, Naro) this element seems to be typically characteristic of the décor of the internal surface of basins. This evidence suggests that the use of this element could be underrepresented, since this part of container is not often documented (Fig. 4).

Fig. 3 – n. 1-2, 4-5, 8-9 from Muculufa (McConnell 1995: tav. 35.137-138, Holloway et al. 1990: figg. 43a-c, 50a); n. 3 from Monte Grande (Castellana 1996b: Fig. 2); nn. 6-7 from Canicattì (Pacci 1987: figg. 3-4, 9-10) (1, 3, 6-7, 9; nn. 2,4-5,8, not at scale).

Fig. 4 – nn. 1,3,4-5, 7-8 from Grotta Ticchiara (Castellana 1997: Ag Fav 770, 795, 817, 819, 824, 826); n. 2, 9 from Naro (Tusa e Pacci 1990: n. 70, 80), n. 6 from Muculufa (Mc Connell 1995).

 

Another element with a restricted area of diffusion appears to be the arch-shaped motif, the use of which is recorded only in southeastern Sicily (Fig. 2 n. 19). In this case it is also interesting to notice that its various configurations relate to specific and more restricted milieus within this area: as a matter of fact the isolated version of this element is used only in the inland area of the Hyblean Mountains and in the site of Santa Croce Camarina, where the latter is geographically linked to that district (with the sole exception of Castelluccio, where this element appears in double configuration – Fig. 5 n. 5). Otherwise, further north and in the site of Melilli such an element occurs with a different configuration consisting of a horizontal series (Fig. 5 n. 4). Significantly the two areas display similar behaviours regarding to the type of vessel on which this element occurs (that is the hourglass-shaped beaker) and its position in the decorated space (the pot’s neck). As already pointed out elsewhere (Copat et al.2008), besides the afore-mentioned examples, other elements are apparently linked to specific territories. However, due to the scarce number of occurrences (they occur on very few or even on single items) the interpretation of their territorial distribution remains uncertain. This gap is especially evident when we note that over half of the number of items examined hail from central-south Sicily, and therefore, one may legitimately consider the chance of a gap in the available information in the other areas. The elements that are recorded only in western Sicily include motifs made up of concentric ovals (Fig. 2 n. 46), spiral (Fig. 2 n. 34) and the lozenge filled with segments (Fig. 2 n. 41).

Fig. 5 – n. 1 from Monte Tabuto (Tusa 1990: tav. 4); n. 2 from Monte Sallia (P. Orsi Musem , Siracusa); n. 3 from Castiglione (Pelagatti 1973: tav. V.73); n. 4 from Melilli (Orsi 1891: tav. V.23); n. 5 from Castelluccio (Orsi 1892: tav. II.8); nn. 6-10 from Monte Racello (P. Orsi Musem , Siracusa ); nn. 11-14 from Santa Croce Camerina (Scorfani 1972: Fig. 2a – not at scale).

 

Turning to elements found only in eastern Sicily, their territorial specificity appears more convincing, especially in comparison with the greater amount of data available from other areas: the rectangle and the trapezium both with concave sides, (Fig. 2 n. 67, 68) together with the Y shaped motif with a third vertical mark/line (Fig. 2 n. 45), the double drop (Fig. 2 n. 36) and the lozenge filled with vertical segments (Fig. 2 n. 42) are all elements recorded exclusively in this zone. On the other hand the paw-shaped element with three extremities (Fig.2 n. 44) and the sun-shaped one (Fig. 2 n. 47) are specifically characteristic of the area surrounding Mount Etna [5]. 

In spite of the specificity of some elements, most of the others have a wider territorial diffusion and in such cases it is their arrangement or configuration within the decorative space that indicates variability and may be linked to more restricted areas. As an example, elements such as the tremulous undulate line (Fig. 6A) and the tremulous angular one (Fig. 6B) are recorded either in the surroundings of the river Salso basin and in eastern-Sicilian sites. It is worth noting that as far as we can argue from the scanty available data regarding chronology, both these elements seem to be represented throughout the chronological span of the Castelluccio facies. Indeed, they have been recorded from vessels at La Muculufa, (a site dating back to the very beginning of this horizon) and from pots coming from other sites that possibly belong to its middle and final phases.  The two elements display an analogous behaviour in the preferential position they assume in the decorative space, as they both often appear, in the isolated version, on the neck of the vessels.  However, their use on the body of the pots, where they are often used as fillings of more elaborated motifs, has a more restricted diffusion, being identified only in southeastern Sicily (Monte Racello, Monte Sallia, Castelluccio, C.da Paolina: Fig. 7 n. 5-10).

Fig. 6 – Tremulous undulate line, tremulous angular line and horizontal zig-zag. Decorative configuration in Castelluccio painted pottery with reference. 

 

The same diffusion is recorded for the double tremulous line that displays a large geographical diffusion when utilised as an isolated motif on the neck of the vase (and in one case from La Muculufa it also appears as an internal decoration immediately under the neck of a basin - Mc Connell 1995: tav. 25.32). On the contrary, as a filling of more complex decorative motifs it is particular of a restricted area, including Hyblean sites (Monte Tabuto, Monte Sallia, Monte Racello and Castelluccio- Fig. 7 n. 5,8,11,13-14), together with others from the area of Mount Etna. In the same areas this element has an analogous use and position, and appears as another configuration consisting of widely spaced tremulous lines (Fig. 7 n. 4, 12 [6]). Another different configuration of this element, with closer series of lines filling a quadrangular metope, is, on the contrary, typical of central-southern Sicily, but not restricted to particular vessel shapes (Fig. 6). Another element, similar to the other ones, displays a similar behaviour with an even wider territorial diffusion: it is the thin horizontal zigzag (Fig. 6C). Again, the use of the configuration consisting of series that fill quadrangular metopes is peculiar of central-southern Sicily, whereas turning to the horizontal series of zigzag covering the vessels’ neck and/or body, there is no territorial evidence beyond the area of river Salso.

Fig. 7 – n. 1-3; 6-8, 12 from Monte Sallia (P. Orsi Musem , Siracusa ); n. 4, 9, 13 from Monte Racello (Orsi 1898: tav. XII.9,17); n. 5 da Castelluccio (Orsi 1892: tav. II.8); n. 10 from C.da Paolina (Procelli 1981: Fig. 37); n. 11 from Monte Tabuto (P. Orsi Musem , Siracusa ); n. 14 from Monte Tabuto (Orsi 1898: tav. XX.2).

 

Another important decorative element is the cross-shaped one, which was drawn either with thin segments (Fig. 2 n. 52) or with larger bands (Fig. 2 n. 51). It has a relatively wide diffusion in central-southern and in eastern Sicily, but it also displays a certain degree of variability (that can be linked to territorial specificity) regarding its position in the decorative space. On the one hand, it is widely diffused in the version that decorates the handles or the space of the vessel immediately below them, while other configurations of this same element are linked to specific territories. For example, the decoration consisting of crosses that border the handle laterally is recorded only in the surroundings of the Naro stream, where it is also linked to a specific type of vessel, the pitcher cup. In a unique case, from Grotta Ticchiara, this motif is found on a jug, associated with other elements (Fig. 8 [7]). The use of this element on the body of the vessel, that is in most cases bordered with bands and located in a central position, seems to be typical of the Hyblean and Etna areas: it has been recorded on two vessels from Contrada Paolina (Procelli 1981: Fig. 31, 38), one from Monte Racello (Orsi 1898: tav. XXII.16), one from Monte Sallia (Orsi 1923: tav. II.9), two from Monte Tabuto (Orsi 1898: tav. XXI.25; Museo P. Orsi – Sr), one from Piano dell’Angelo (Amoroso 1979: tav. VI.5) and it is also present in the area of Etna, in some vessels from Scarico Sapienza  e Grotta di Pietralunga  (Privitera and La Rosa: n. 44 and three other items in Adrano Civic Musem – see also Cultraro 2004: Fig. 1).

Fig. 8: n. 1-2 from Naro (Tusa and Pacci 1990: n. 60, 67); nn. 3-8 from Grotta Ticchiara (Castellana 1997: Ag Fav 760, 792, 800, 841, 845, 848); n. 6 from Favara (Castellana 1997: Favara 5534).

 

In the case of the series of ribbon-shaped angular motif (fully painted or filled with reticule or segments, Fig 2 n. 24-26) it has been possible to notice some different decorative choices that may correspond to territorial variability. Elsewhere we have already underlined (Copat et al.  2008: Fig. 10-11) how the configuration consisting of a specular reflection, which in most cases fills a central position on the vessels’ body, were it is often bordered by bands, is typical of sites located between the Etna and the Hyblean areas. This motif occurs especially on hourglass-shaped beakers and less frequently in other kind of vessels (Fig. 9 [8]; Copat et al. 2008: Fig. 11). It appears to us that this motif performs a decorative function which is analogous to the one observed above for the cross-shaped element. Likewise other elements, such as the skewed rectangle filled with segments or the fully painted one (Fig. 2 n. 75-77), display an analogous behaviour with regard to the cross-shaped element. The configuration consisting of the rotation of these elements around a point is used in central-southern Sicily to border the vessels’ handles (Grotta Ticchiara, Castellana 1997: Ag Fav 837, 844), whereas in the Etna area and in the Hyblean region it is recorded in a central position on the body of the pots (Scarico Sapienza, Adrano Civic Museum; Monte Tabuto, “P. Orsi” Museum; Castiglione, Pelagatti 1973: tav. V.72).

Fig. 9 –nn.1-2 from Monte Racello (Orsi 1898: tav. XII.9,17); nn. 3-8 (P. Orsi Musem - Sr); n. 9 from Castelluccio (Orsi 1892: tav. II.8); nn. 10-12, 14-17 from Monte Sallia (P. Orsi Musem - Sr); n. 13 from Castelluccio (P. Orsi Musem - Sr); nn. 18-19 from Monte Tabuto (P. Orsi Musem - Sr); n. 20 from Etna area (Cultraro 2004: Fig. 1.3); n. 21-23 from S. Croce Camerina (Scrofani 1972; Fig. 2a – not at scale); n. 24 from c.da Paolina (Procelli 1981: Fig. 37).

 

SYMBOLIC INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION (P.P.)

From the study of the distribution of each configuration we moved towards an overall analysis of the dynamics of their circulation [9]. This has been done by calculating the degree of similarity through an affinity index between samples, taking into account both the presence/absence of the various configurations in each site and the percentage of their incidence. First, we have calculated the frequency distribution of the configurations for each of the main sites, then the difference in percentage for some sites. This index then has values ranging between 0 (when sites share the same configurations and the same percentage) to 200 (when no configuration are shared between the two sites). It has been possible to recognise a general trend for all the examined sites. Interestingly, the highest degree of similarity is recorded with the nearest neighbouring ones, whereas affinity decreases in proportion to the increase of distance. Nevertheless there are exceptions to this pattern, i.e. significant similarities between quite distant sites, are recorded when these are located in territories that are not separated by any particular geographic barrier [10].

A few examples deserve further attention: for instance the site of Grotta Ticchiara displays a wide degree of similarity with the collection of ceramics from the close site of Naro. It shows a second greatest affinity with other neighbouring sites to the East including Muculufa, Manfria and Monte Calvario, to the West with Favara and Monserrato. The case of Manfria is also noteworthy: most significantly, it displays similarity with a series of quite close sites (La Muculufa, Monte Grande, Monte Sallia and C.da Paolina); secondarily a less strong but still significant affinity is recorded with two groups of settlements, located to the west of it (for example Naro and Grotta Ticchiara) or to the east (for example Monte Tabuto). Shifting from these specific cases to the overall situation and taking into account the coupling of sites with the maximum reciprocal affinity, it has been possible to outline a chain model (Fig. 10) that allows further observations. First, in some cases the sites displaying the maximum similarity (i.e. Scarico Sapienza/Monte Sallia; Manfria/c.da Paolina/Monte Sallia) are located in territories that have been identified in scholarly literature as different ‘stylistic regions’. The model outlined by the present research, therefore, partly seems to contradict the idea of the existence of precise and well-defined “stylistic regions”. However, it points to the necessityof further investigation in order to individuate the dynamics of exchange of information and/or objects between the examined contexts.

Fig. 10 – Affinity index for couple of sites: for each considered site the most similar site/sites is indicated by an arrow: n.1: Marcita; n. 2: Torre Donzelle; n. 3: Partanna; n. 4: Ciavolaro; n. 5: Monteaperto; n. 6: Monserrato; n. 7: Favara; n. 8: Grotta Ticchiara; n. 9: Naro; n. 10: Monte Grande; n. 11: Monte Calvario; n. 12: Muculufa; n. 13: Manfria; n. 14: C.da Paolina; n. 15: Castiglione; n. 16: Monte Tabuto; n. 17: Monte Sallia; n. 18: Grotta Lazzaro; 19: Castelluccio; n. 20: Monte Racello; n. 21: Grotta di Pietralunga; n. 22: Scarico Sapienza ; n. 23 Grotta Pellegriti.

 

Besides geographic contiguity, other factors could have also played an important role in the decorative choices of the various sites and in the circulation of stylistic traits between them: for instance, the high degree of affinity linking the distant sites of Manfria and of the western Hyblean region could have something to do with the functional specificity of the latter area.

Perhaps, the Hyblean richness in flint outcrops and mining activity could have played a role in determining a series of wide range contacts. On the other hand, the low degree of similarity that can be recorded between some proximate sites - such as Scarico Sapienza and Grotta Pellegriti in the Etna surroundings, Grotta Ticchiara and Monte Grande in central area, Monteaperto and Monserrato in western Sicily - deserves attention in the future. Therefore, if we consider decoration and, more generally, stylistic features, not only could such a methodology help in verifying interaction processes between groups, but it could also act as a means of exchange of symbolic information (both for producers and users, both active and passive). The desire to underline affinity with a neighbour community (also by using a common stylistic repertoire), the dynamics of differentiation/opposition between neighbouring communities could also have played a crucial role in communication between different communities (Graves 1991; Hodder 1982).

An alternative hypothesis is that differences between nearby sites can be partially due to chronological differences. It must be stressed, however, that at the present stage of research this last assertion must be considered a mere hypothesis. Regarding to chronology, the lack of both radiometric data and pluri-stratified sequences does not allow the definition of precise  sub-phases within the cultural horizon of Castelluccio. Therefore, it seems reasonable to think that the results of this analysis can be due to different factors, depending also on specific situations (such as chronology, context function, kind of relationship between communities etc…), which should be evaluated also in the light of other classes of data. From a general perspective, the distributional analysis performed on the decorative elements of the ceramics of Castelluccio, and on their configurations, indicates that the circulation/exchange of information between different communities was probably based on short-range multidirectional movements. This contrasts with the idea of specific stylistic regions, even if some territorial peculiarities have been observed. The latter appears to comply with a scenario where the production of pottery was possibly organized on a residential basis, and maybe also on a domestic scale. To be confirmed, though, such a hypothesis requires further investigation. In addition to the topics covered in the present article, a more exhaustive study of Castelluccio pottery (i.e. elaboration of a vessels’ typology,  distributional analysis of the various identified types and identification of the decorative patterns for these types), will be necessary, together with a more general consideration of the overall characteristics of the societies belonging to this cultural horizon.

 

NOTES

[1] Some attempts have been proposed in otder to develop relative chronologies for single contexts such as the Ciavolaro votive site, Grotta Ticchiara, Muculufa and Etna area sites.

[2]  Radiometric dates are at the moment very scarce: a few data come from Muculufa, Monte Grande and Grotta Ticchiara -  see Castellana 1996a, 1997; Holloway et al. 1990; McConnell 1995.

[3]  Such an approach is instead used by Tinè 1997.

[4]  However,  they are generically reported to come from western Sicily.

[5]  For a detailed report of the single attestations and their relative bibliographic references see Copat  et al. 2008: 217, except for the lozenge filled with vertical segment, which has been detected in Grotta Maggiore – Terranova 2008: Fig. 8 n. 7b).

[6]  Together with the vessels illustrated in Fig.7, two other items from Scarico Sapienza (Privitera e La Rosa: nn. 43,44) and one from Grotta Pellegriti (Privitera e La Rosa: n. 33) belong to this group.

[7]  Together with the vessels illustrated in  Fig.8 an other container from Naro (Tusa e Pacci 1990: n. 67) belongs to this group.

[8]  Together with the vessels illustrated in Fig. 9 one item from Grotta Maccarrone (Privitera e La Rosa: catalogo dei materiali, n. 17) and one item from Grotta Pietralunga (Privitera e La Rosa: n. 33) belong to this group. Containers different from hourglass-shaped beakers are not included.

[9]  This attempt has been already presented in a preliminary report (Copat et al. in press). The enlargement of the sample and the inclusion of new sites in the analysis, such as Monte Racello, allows now to discuss it more exhaustively.

[10] Some anomalies on this general trend could be also due to the lack of homogeneity in number of vessels included in each sample and to the lack of data for some specific areas, such as Catania plain, where many sites are recorded but entire collections of findings remain unpublished so far.

 

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