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Messapian stelae: settlements, boundaries and native identity in Southeast Italy

D'Angelo, Tiziana



This article focuses on a group of anthropomorphic stelae that were found in five sites in Salento between the 1960s and 2005. Survey projects and archaeological excavations conducted over the past decades in southeast Italy have radically improved our knowledge of ancient Messapia, and thus offer the opportunity to reconsider the function and meaning of these monuments within the development of native settlements during the Iron Age and Archaic period. I examine the decoration of the stelae as well as their archaeological and cultural contexts , and use them as evidence to reassess their dating and discuss the dynamics of interaction between native communities and Greek settlers in southeast Italy. I also challenge a traditional interpretation of these stelae as funerary semata and I propose that they served to mark spatial boundaries and articulate urban landscape, ultimately commemorating elite identity in the context of a geographic and political rearrangement of native settlements in Salento between the late 8 th and the early 6 th century BC.


D'Angelo, T. (2018). Messapian stelae: settlements, boundaries and native identity in Southeast Italy. BABESCH - Annual Papers on Mediterranean Archaeology, 93, 1-26.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 26, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 30, 2018
Publication Date Mar 30, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 31, 2020
Print ISSN 0165-9367
Electronic ISSN 1783-1369
Publisher Peeters
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 93
Pages 1-26
Public URL
Publisher URL


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