Department or Program
Title of Approved Individual Major
Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor
This thesis examines the role of fineware in overseas exchange through an analysis of Etrusco-Corinthian pottery in the Archaic western Mediterranean. By considering stylistic analysis more broadly, as well as the archaeological contexts of the ware, I evaluate the role of the pottery in the Western settlements of Massalia and Saint Blaise, and consider questions of the production and export of the ware. This approach highlights the problematic nature of conclusions drawn about the economic progression of Etrusco-Corinthian pottery as a declining ware. I argue that these conclusions stem from a previous conception of Etruscan inferiority to the Greeks, and that this stereotype has also extended to discussions of Etruscan agency in the West. I assert that Etruscans in the West are functioning within a cosmopolitan world of exchange, and that the Etruscans are visibly active in this market, as demonstrated through the continued demand and consumption of Etrusco-Corinthian sympotica by populations of the West. Based on the archaeological contexts, the consumers of imported wares appear to have been crucial in shaping this demand by actively seeking a varied collection of imported fineware. Questions remain regarding precisely how the production process of the ware relates to export. Despite this, the study of Etrusco-Corinthian pottery in the West clearly establishes the fineware as a commodity, both in Etruria and abroad, and also concludes that Etruscan wares circulated within the cosmopolitan Mediterranean network on a equal, not subordinate, level to Greek wares.