The main concern of this volume is the multi-layered concept of ethnicity. Contributors examine and contextualise contrasting definitions of ethnicity and identity as implicit in two perspectives, one from the classical tradition and another from the prehistoric and anthropological tradition. They look at the role of textual sources in reconstructing ethnicity and introduce fresh and innovative archaeological data in reconstructing ethnicity, either from fieldwork or from new combinations of old data. Finally, in contrast to many traditional approaches to ethnicity, they examine the relative and interacting role of natural and cultural features in the landscape in the construction of ethnicity.
The volume is headed by the contribution of Andrea Carandini whose work challenges the conceptions of many in the combination of text and archaeology. He begins by examining the mythology surrounding the founding of Rome, taking into consideration the recent archaeological evidence from the Palatine and the Forum. Here, primacy is given to construction of place and mythological descent. Anthony Snodgrass, Robin Osborne, Tim Cornell and Christopher Smith offer replies to his arguments. Overall, the nineteen papers presented here show that a modern interdisciplinary and international archaeology that combines material data and textual evidence - critically - can provide a powerful lesson for the full understanding of the ideologies of ancient and modern societies.
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