Late bronze age sardinia: Acephalous cohesion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


The late second millennium BC on Sardinia is among the most dynamic and vital periods in the island’s history, when Nuragic society undergoes massive changes. Proto-urban centers surrounding veritable fortresses, vast regional cult spaces, sophisticated metallurgy, and a complex circulation of Cypriot and Aegean goods and technologies attest to expanded political groupings and economic intensification. This period marks the apex of Nuragic society, and at the same time foreshadows this culture’s fragmentation in the subsequent centuries. These precocious transformations, virtually unparalleled elsewhere in the central and western Mediterranean in this period, have typically been explained by either external pressures or internal ones: the former theories focus on the foreign demand for metals and influx of new goods, while the latter emphasize demographic growth or a shift in the Sardinian mindset from introversion to extroversion. Yet the picture that emerges from the material record is one that the standard internal/external binary applied to islands does little to explain: a bewildering blend of connectivity and isolation, cultural conservatism and social change, and the appropriation of new and recycled material forms. This chapter reexamines this perplexing period, drawing on the evidence of imports and the built environment to construct a picture of a still inward-turning society whose emergent elites were unsuccessful at overcoming a tradition of acephalous cohesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Prehistory of the Bronze and Iron Age Mediterranean
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781139028387
ISBN (Print)9780521766883
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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