1st Edition

Consumerism in the Ancient World
Imports and Identity Construction

ISBN 9780415893794
Published December 7, 2013 by Routledge
238 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Greek pottery was exported around the ancient world in vast quantities over a period of several centuries. This book focuses on the Greek pottery consumed by people in the western Mediterranean and trans-Alpine Europe from 800-300 BCE, attempting to understand the distribution of vases, and particularly the reasons why people who were not Greek decided to acquire them. This new approach includes discussion of the ways in which objects take on different meanings in new contexts, the linkages between the consumption of goods and identity construction, and the utility of objects for signaling positive information about their owners to their community. The study includes a database of almost 24,000 artifacts from more than 230 sites in Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Germany. This data was mapped and analyzed using geostatistical techniques to reveal different patterns of consumption in different places and at different times. The development of the new approaches explored in this book has resulted in a shift away from reliance on the preserved fragments of ancient Greek authors’ descriptions of western Europe, remains of monumental buildings, and major artworks, and toward investigation of social life and more prosaic forms of material culture.


ADDITIONAL E-RESOURCES FOR THIS BOOK ARE AVAILABLE: https://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/art_data/1/

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Greek Pottery in New Contexts  2. Greek Colonization in the West: A Historical and Cultural Survey  3. Comparison of Significant Sites  4. Developing a Theoretical Basis for Understanding Consumption  5. Greek Pottery at Home and in the West  6. Analysis of the Dataset  7. Interpreting the Evidence: Consumerism, Signaling, and Identity

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Justin St. P. Walsh is Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Chapman University. He has worked for more than a decade at archaeological sites across the Mediterranean, especially Morgantina in Sicily, and has been the recipient of a Rome Prize, a Fulbright Grant to Greece, and numerous other awards. He is the author of several articles on Greek pottery, cross-cultural interactions, and the protection of cultural heritage.

Support Material


  • eResources
    • Access Database (.ACCDB, .CSV, and .XLSX): Contains the original database, as well as the major tables from the database in widely-used spreadsheet formats, for those who do not have Microsoft Access.
    • ArcGIS maps (.MPK): The full map files, including data (requires ArcGIS, version 10.1 or higher).
    • Multi-layer PDFs: The maps in Adobe Reader format. These maps include all of the layers found in the ArcGIS maps, but due to technical limitations do not have legends which explain the precise ranges associated with color contours, as are found in .MPK versions above. In general, for the kriging layer, blue and green are associated with low predicted values and orange and red are associated with high predicted values. For the kriging error layer, the areas surrounded by the black contour line are associated with the lowest predicted error (and thus the highest confidence), while the areas surrounded by lighter contour lines are associated with successively greater error and reduced confidence. The files are grouped by the type of analysis: artifact counts (N), presence-absence, and Simpson's Index of Diversity (SDI).
      • N (Counts of artifacts)
      • Presence-absence
      • Simpson’s Index of Diversity
    • Excel spreadsheets (.CSV and .XLSX): The spreadsheet files which were used to prepare data from the database before importing into ArcGIS for generating maps.

    These files are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. They may be modified as long as attribution is made to the original author, Justin St. P. Walsh, and they are made freely available to other users following their modification.