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Studi e ricerche di protostoria mediterranea

Collana diretta da

Paola Càssola Guida

Il volume è stato pubblicato con il contributo di:

Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca

nell’ambito dei progetti “P.R.I.N. 2007”

Impaginazione e supporti informatici: Fabio Prenc

© 2009 Edizioni Quasar di Severino Tognon s.r.l.

Roma, Via Ajaccio 43, 00198 Roma
Tel. 06/84241993; Fax 06/85833591

ISBN 978-88-7140-370-0
Dall’Egeo all’Adriatico:
organizzazioni sociali, modi
dI scambio e INTERAZIONE


(12TH - 11TH B.C.)

a cura di
Elisabetta Borgna e Paola Càssola guida


Introduzione (Elisabetta Borgna, Paola Càssola Guida)....................................................... p. 7

Oliver Dickinson, Social Development in the Postpalatial Period in the Aegean ........... » 11

Stefano de Martino, Anatolia after the Collapse of the Hittite Empire ............................ » 21

Yannos G. Lolos, Salamis ca. 1200 B.C.: Connections with Cyprus and the East .......... » 29

Mario Benzi, LB III Trade in the Dodecanese: an Overview ........................................... » 47

Giampaolo Graziadio, Elisabetta Pezzi, The Late Bronze Age Tombs at Enkomi (Cyprus):
a Case Study ...................................................................................................................... » 63

Constantinos Paschalidis, Photini J.P. McGeorge, Life and Death in the Periphery of
the Mycenaean World at the End of the Late Bronze Age: the Case of the Achaea Klauss
Cemetery ............................................................................................................................ » 79

Theodoros G. Giannopoulos, “One ring to bind them”. The chamber tomb I of Monodendri
in Achaea and the missing piece of an interesting puzzle ................................................. » 115

Reinhard Jung, I “bronzi internazionali” ed il loro contesto sociale fra Adriatico,

Penisola balcanica e coste levantine ................................................................................. » 129

Alberto Cazzella, Exchange Systems and Social Interaction during the Late Bronze Age
in the Southern Adriatic ..................................................................................................... » 159

Lucia Vagnetti, Richard E. Jones, Sara T. Levi, Marco Bettelli, Lucia Alberti, Ceramiche
egee e di tipo egeo lungo i versanti adriatico e ionico della Penisola italiana: situazioni a
confronto ............................................................................................................................ » 171

Riccardo Guglielmino, Le relazioni tra l’Adriatico e l’Egeo nel Bronzo Recente e Finale.
La testimonianza di Roca .................................................................................................. » 185
Giovanna Maggiulli, I ripostigli di Roca Vecchia (Lecce): analisi dei materiali e pro-
blematiche archeologiche .................................................................................................. p. 205

Giulia Recchia, Attività di scambio e sviluppi sociali a Coppa Nevigata (Manfredonia –

Puglia) durante la tarda età del bronzo ............................................................................ » 219

Tommaso Sabbatini, Mara Silvestrini, Fabio Milazzo, Moscosi di Cingoli (Macerata) e

l’area centroadriatica nella tarda età del bronzo: aspetti di carattere internazionale e di
koinè metallurgica fra Egeo e area alpina ........................................................................ » 235

Elodia Bianchin Citton, Il Veneto tra Bronzo Recente e Bronzo Finale: popolamento e
aspetti socio-economici di un’area di cerniera tra l’Adriatico e l’Oltralpe ........................ » 257

Paola Càssola Guida, Susi Corazza, First clues as to the emerging of élites and long-
distance relationships in the Upper Adriatic hinterland at the end of the Bronze Age .......... » 273

Elisabetta Borgna, Patterns of Bronze Circulation and Deposition in the Northern

Adriatic at the close of the Late Bronze Age ......................................................................... » 289

Vedran Barbarić, Late Bronze Age in Dalmatia: State of Research ................................. » 311

Petrika Lera, Stavros Oikonomidis, Aristeides Papayiannis, Akis Tsonos, Settle-

ment Organisation and Social Context in the SW Balkan Peninsula (Epirotic and
Albanian Coasts) and Northern Italy during the Transitional Period betwen the Late
Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age (c. 13th-9th B.C.) .......................................................... » 325


Ioannis Moschos, Evidence of Social Re-Organization and Reconstruction in Late

Helladic IIIC Achaea and Modes of Contacts and Exchange via the Ionian and Adriatic
Sea ....................................................................................................................................... » 345
Elisabetta Borgna *

Patterns of Bronze Circulation

and Deposition in the northern Adriatic
at the close of the Late Bronze Age

1. I would like to devote this short contribution to an attempt to integrate some evidence con-
cerning the dynamics of bronze circulation in the northern Adriatic regions into the wider frame-
work of Mediterranean long-distance relationships in the Late Bronze Age, especially as regards
the diffusion of “Urnfield” or “foreign” bronzes related to the so-called metallurgical koine and
the exchange of goods belonging to sub-elite spheres during the more or less two-hundred-year
period between the mid-13th and the mid-11th centuries B.C.1
The relevance of such a discussion emerges in particular in relation to three thematic issues,
which analytical investigations have recently shed light upon:
1) Bronze circulation and deposition: both in the Northern Adriatic – the so-called Caput
Adriae regions – and in other nearby countries, as well as in more distant areas linked to the
Adriatic world, the recent increase in studies and publications of metal hoards offers grounds for
both a broader discussion on the phenomenology of metal deposition and the putting forward of
regional chronological sequences which may be useful in establishing synchronisms and detecting
long-distance contacts.2
2) Chronology: according to a new, well-accepted Italian-Aegean synchronization, which
has been tested in particular by means of a broad systematic analysis by R. Jung (2006), the bulk
of the evidence belonging to the life-cycle of Italian Late Bronze Age metals, especially as regards
circulation, consumption and deposition, has to be inserted into a “post-palatial social and econ-
omic framework”: the Italian Late Bronze Age seems, for the most part, to have developed over
a time-span that corresponds to post-palatial Aegean phases.
3) Cypriot connection:3 several hints, coming in particular – as regards the Adriatic area –
from Frattesina, have led to the stressing of an early Cypriot agency in the post-palatial contacts
between the Aegean and Italy, in particular the Adriatic area (Càssola Guida 1999; Borgna 2000;
Ead. 2003a). Such an agency would seem to fit the general explanations put forward by A. and S.
Sherratt and other scholars, who claim that the Cypriots were the first entrepreneurial freelance
agents to found and spread practices proper to new independent economies, thereby anticipating

* Dipartimento di Storia e Tutela dei Beni Culturali, Università di Udine, vicolo Florio 2B, Udine; elisabetta_borgna@

1 As for “Urnfield” bronzes see Harding 1984; Bouzek 1985; lately Sherratt 2000, with references; cf. Borgna 2003b,
pp. 154; 162-163; for the concept of koinè: Peroni, Carancini 1997; cf. Bettelli 1999; Peroni 2004.
2 For Friuli hoards: Borgna 1992; Ead. 2000-2001; Ead. 2004; Ead. 2007; for other regional sequences: Bagolan,
Leonardi 2000 (Veneto); Depojske I-II (Slovenia); Vinski-Gasparini 1973 (Croatia); cf. Clausing 2003; König 2004 (Bosnia
Herzegowina); see also Hansen 1994.
3 See in general Lo Schiavo, Macnamara, Vagnetti 1985; Vagnetti 1986; Vagnetti, Lo Schiavo 1989; Vagnetti 2000.

Elisabetta Borgna

the Iron Age trade systems (Knapp 1990; Sherratt 1994; 1998; Sherratt, Sherratt 1998, p. 332).
According to such a scenario we should be prepared to find hints of Cypriot activities in the
early post-palatial horizons, that is, in Italy, from an advanced phase of Bronzo Recente well into
Bronzo Finale (BF 1) (late 13th - 12th century; Ha A1 ca.).

2. As for the bronze circulation in Friuli (the western part of the so-called Caput Adriae), I
would like to begin by stressing that, although most bronze assemblages include items which
represent, on typological grounds, a long span of time (from the Middle Bronze Age till late in
the Late Bronze Age) as regards production and primary use of the objects, clear evidence exists
for two definite cycles of bronze deposition, pointed out by a conspicuous sequence of hoards
(supra, note 2). According to the patterns of selection and composition of these assemblages, as
well as on the grounds of the typological analysis of their contents, a general continuity seems
to characterize the dynamics of metal production and use during an early part of the Late Bronze
Age (BR-BF 1). A clear gap is recognizable after an initial stage of Bronzo Finale, a gap which
probably coincides with a major discontinuity perceptible in most regions of peninsular Italy at
the transition between the early and the middle phase of the Final Bronze Age (BF 1-2) (Carancini
Peroni 1999, p. 8). As we shall see, this discontinuity might be connected with a transformation
in the nature and modes of long-distance exchange and movement of goods in the Aegean and
Eastern Mediterranean as well.
By briefly recapitulating some main features, we will doubtless recall that the supply of metals
that went through north-eastern Italy in the Bronze Age was most probably fuelled, for a period
including the advanced Bronzo Medio and an early part of Bronzo Recente, by the activity of
certain important industrial settlements. These settlements were devoted to the processing and
distributing of metal within the framework of a somehow structured and organized exchange
system functioning along an established trade route that linked the Terramare area to the Alpine
and Danubian regions. Such a route encouraged the transmission of techniques, ideas, models
and types, and favoured the formation of a kind of metallurgical koine, mostly oriented – at an
early stage (BM-BR 1) – towards the Western cultural area, including the inner Veneto and the
Terramare.4 Relevant to this system are patterns deriving from the well-known Peschiera bronze
industry, which possibly continued to have an important role in the new framework emerging after
the final crisis of the Terramare towards the end of Bronzo Recente, when a political landscape
seems to have survived in the area of Verona, including the settlement system of the huge
defended sites of Fondo Paviani, Castello del Tartaro, Fabbrica dei Soci.5 The Aegean sherds
recently retrieved from Lovara di Villabartolomea and Crosare di Bovolone (Salzani, Drusini,
Malnati 2000; I Veneti dai bei cavalli 2003, pp. 30-31, figs. 9-11; Salzani et alii 2006), by joining
the evidence already gathered from the other sites, seem to confirm the involvement of the area
in a network of relationships with the post-palatial Aegean. The location of these sites, which
possibly grew in importance just at the end of the Terramare life-time, suggests a shift of the
population towards the coastal area just at the transition between the end of Bronzo Recente and

4 Cf. Borgna 2000-2001, pp. 307-309; Càssola Guida 2006, pp. 22-25; for Terramare see Le Terramare 1997; for Veneto
see also Capoferri 1988; Bianchin Citton 2006; for recent studies of relevant bronze assemblages see Salzani 2005; Cupitò
5 On the settlement system of the Valli Grandi Veronesi see De Guio 1997; Id. 2000; cf. Bagolan, Leonardi 2000, p. 22;
Bianchin Citton 2003, pp. 120-121; for the Aegean evidence: Bettelli, Vagnetti 1997; Jones et alii 2002.

Patterns of Bronze Circulation and Deposition

the beginning of Bronzo Finale (BF 1). To the same period we may possibly date the foundation
of Frattesina (phase 1),6 as some stray finds from this site, such as a knife of the Matrei type,
might attest (Salzani 1989, p. 67, fig. 1, 3).

3. Turning to the Caput Adriae, a group of hoards belonging to the first of the two mentioned
Late Bronze Age cycles of deposition (in particular the hoards of Castions, Celò, Muscoli,
Belgrado: Borgna 2000-2001, pp. 296-320; Ead. 2007) seems to be related to the exploitation and
processing of metal used in serving the settlement system of the Veronese. These hoards seem to
have been closed at the beginning of Bronzo Finale, but they mostly include items representing
the whole span of Bronzo Recente and in some cases even the Middle Bronze Age. On the basis
of the typological evidence, we may conclude that the same assemblages include materials which
may be attributed to both the earlier supply system of the Terramare (BM-BR) and the later one,
centred on the Veronese sites: no marked discontinuity, whether typological or depositional,
seems to characterize these two successive long-distance stages of circulation, which may be
considered as belonging to the main wide horizon of metal consumption.
As an example of the connections between the Friuli bronze industry and the long-distance
exchange system which seems to have involved, during Bronzo Recente, the Terramare and north-
ern Italy on the one hand, and coastal southern Italy on the other, we may mention, from the Friuli
hoards, the handled sickles provided with an oblique rib (linking the handle to the back) and the
Pertosa winged-axes (fig. 1, 1-3), both classes known, for instance, at Scoglio del Tonno (Striccoli
2004, p. 495, fig. 2, 9-10) (fig. 1, 4-5).
As for the slightly later connections with the settlement system of the Veronese area, some
other items from the Friuli hoards such as a long-socketed shovel – provided with exclusive com-
parisons at Torretta di Legnago near Fondo Paviani (Carancini 1984, p. 147, pl.121, no. 3734) and
Sabbionara di Veronella (Salzani 1993, pl. 15, no. 11) – seem to be relevant.7 Other bronzes from
Friuli and Eastern Veneto, such as knives of the Matrei type (Borgna 2000-2001, p. 306, note 64;
Ead. 2007, p. 217; Bianchin Citton 1999, p. 35, fig. 2, 4), albeit stray finds, seem nevertheless
to testify to the important role of north-eastern Italy in the long-distance bronze exchange which,
by following first an inner communication route (Terramare system of BM-BR), and later a
coastal one (Valli Grandi Veronesi and Frattesina BR-BF 1), served the Mediterranean interaction
network via the main centres of southern Italy. Recent evidence concerning a Matrei knife from
Broglio di Trebisacce would confirm this.8
These two successive stages in the production of bronzes, which nevertheless seem to fuel a
continuous and homogeneous horizon of bronze circulation, may be distinguished by pointing out
some hints of a kind of transformation occurring between the earlier and the later stage, a trans-
formation possibly linked with a major shift in the perception of cultural belonging and affiliation.
We should stress at this point that, within the Friuli hoards, the evidence dating to Bronzo Finale
consists mostly of classes and types of objects, such as socketed axes and hammers, clearly show-

6 For the phases of Frattesina: Arenoso Callipo, Bellintani 1994, pp. 13-16; Bellintani 1992; Id. 2000; cf. Bagolan,
Leonardi 2000, p. 22.
7 See possibly also an item from Ponte S. Marco, dated to Bronzo Recente: Poggiani Keller et alii 1998, fig. 3B; cf.
Borgna 2007, p. 216, fig. 4, 1.
8 Luppino, Peroni, Vanzetti 2005, pl. 97, 1; for a metallurgical connection between north-eastern and peninsular Italy in
late BR-BF see in particular the metal assemblage of Grotta Pertosa: Albore Livadie, Bietti Sestieri, Marzocchella 2004,
p. 487, fig. 4 (fig. 1, 6).

Elisabetta Borgna

ing the increasing importance of Balkan and Danubian components in the metallurgy of the Caput
Adriae (e.g. Borgna 2000-2001, pp. 365, 313, 317).
The deposition and sealing of the Friuli hoards immediately after the beginning of Bronzo
Finale might actually be due to a major interruption in the previous system of bronze supply, most
probably coinciding with both the crisis of the main defended settlements of the Veronese area
and the final emergence of coastal emporia such as Frattesina (phase 2). Crises and interruptions
in the circulation system on the western side and openness to new patterns and influences on the
eastern side might not have been coincidental. At this stage we may recognize the inception of a
phenomenon of “Balkanization” which would have involved, during an advanced stage of Bronzo
Finale, many of the Adriatic regions (Bietti Sestieri 2003, p. 57).
Although precise references and fixed points for synchronization are missing, we should never-
theless suggest that this kind of “Balkanization” may coincide with a similar phenomenon
detectable in other Mediterranean areas such as northern Greece and the Troad: in both these areas
bronzes of “Balkan” types appear towards the end of the Late Bronze Age. Socketed and collared
axes, together with other “European” bronzes, from Troy VII b 2 might in particular be con-
sidered roughly contemporary to the evidence of Friuli and might point to the increasing impor-
tance of Balkan metallurgy as regards the diffusion of both items and models.9
Turning to Italy, the life-span of several items included in these earlier deposits (BR-BF 1)
roughly coincides with the cycle of production and use of the most famous koine or Urnfield
bronzes, which spread throughout the Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age (supra, note 1).
Some of these bronzes, such as “Pertosa” daggers and violin-bow fibulae, might have been pro-
duced from an early part of BR (BR 1) on, while some others might have continued to be pro-
duced and/or circulated after the end of BR, during Bronzo Finale (for north-eastern Italy: Fasani
1984, pp. 545-557; Capoferri 1988; cf. Bagolan, Leonardi 2000, p. 21). On the whole, however,
they seem to represent the industrial output of several late Bronzo Recente-early Bronzo Finale
settlements (12th century ca.) mostly oriented towards maritime exchange, possible examples
being certain coastal settlements of Veneto, together with Frattesina (phase 1) and other Adriatic

4. Turning now to the possible Aegean or Mediterranean partners of this maritime exchange,
who would have operated within the framework of post-palatial social and economic organiza-
tions (that is LH IIIC Early-Middle Advanced), we have to admit that, as regards the Italian 12th
century contexts, clear evidence of a Cypriot connection is hardly discernible.
Regarding this subject, we are well acquainted with the evidence of a Cypriot component in
the Italian-Aegean exchange of the palatial age, namely 14th and 13th centuries, as would seem
to be demonstrated by the well-known Sicilian metal vessels (Vagnetti 1968), the evidence from
Thapsos, Siracusa and Cannatello, together with several clues for a Cypriot-Sardinian connection

9 Dörpfeld 1902, p. 405, fig. 405; Koppenhöfer 1997, pp. 298, 310ff.; Becks 2003, p. 50 (violin-bow fibula depending on
northern influence from VII b 1 onwards); as for northern Greece cf. a socketed axe from LH IIIB-C Dimini: Adrymi-Sismani
2003, p. 85, fig. 6; Jung 2006, p. 55.
10 For Veneto see Bianchin Citton 2003; for Marche: Silvestrini, Pignocchi 2002; Silvestrini, Sabbatini 2004; de
Marinis et alii 2005; see possibly also the site of Riccione: Bermond Montanari, Massi Pasi, Morico 1992; for a similar
framework of industrial activities oriented towards external exchange compare some other distant contexts such as Pantalica:
Procelli et alii 2004; Le presenze micenee 2004, with literature.

Patterns of Bronze Circulation and Deposition


2. 3.


5. 6.

Fig. 1. - 1-2. sickle (29927) and winged axe (29915) from the Friuli hoard of Celò, near Cividale (Udine) (scale
1: 3); 3. winged-axe from the Friuli hoard of Castions (B, 2161) (Udine) (scale 1:3) (drawings by G.
Merlatti); 4-5. sickle and winged-axe from Scoglio del Tonno (Striccoli 2004, p. 497, fig. 2, 9-10);
6. winged-axe from the Pertosa Cave (scale 1:3) (Albore Livadie, Bietti Sestieri, Marzocchella
2004, p. 486, fig. 4, 1).

Elisabetta Borgna

and other important hints stressed by L.Vagnetti, F. Lo Schiavo (supra, note 3) and, lately, G.
Graziadio in particular (1997, with literature; cf. Karageorghis 1995), not to mention earlier
indications of Levantine components from Roca Vecchia (Guglielmino 1996; Id. 2003, pp.
96-97). Most of this evidence might belong, indeed, to the framework of LH IIIA 2 and IIIB,
namely Palatial trade, as some clues for an Italian presence in the Ulu Burun wreck might confirm
(Vagnetti 1999; lately Lo Schiavo 2005, pp. 399-400).
As for post-palatial evidence we should, for instance, take into consideration the metal industry
of Late Bronze Age Sardinia (Lo Schiavo 2006, with literature), including the well-known ox-hide
ingots, the storage vessels or dolii of Southern Italy (Levi et alii 1990; Vagnetti 2000, pp. 78-85;
Borgna, Càssola Guida 2006, pp. 149-150), the remains of industrial activities at Frattesina,
involving remarkable amounts of exotic materials (supra). For all this evidence, however, we can
hardly state a date within the 12th century (or BR 2-BF 1).
As for Sardinia, we mostly encounter stray finds or doubtful provenances without reliable
contexts; where contexts are retrievable, they mostly point to an advanced stage of Bronzo Finale
(11th century?) (Lo Schiavo 1998, p. 196; Ead. 1999, p. 506).
As for dolii, the Italian examples deriving from Cypriot prototypes, decorated with grooves,
seem mostly to belong to an advanced phase of Bronzo Finale, as is the case for the figured sherds
from Frattesina in particular (Càssola Guida 1999, p. 492; Bettelli 2002, pp. 110-111, fig. 51).
As for the industrial activities at this site, including the four well-known metal hoards (Arenoso
Callipo, Bellintani 1994; Bellintani 2000, p. 65; Salzani 2000; Id. 2003), most of the evidence
pointing to long-distance Mediterranean relationships belongs to the second phase of the settle-
ment, which is dated to BF 2 (supra, note 6). To this phase most of the materials from the cem-
eteries (Salzani 1989; Id. 1990/1991) also point, including ivory and bone objects and bronze
Moreover, a Cypriot component in Western Aegean-Central Mediterranean contexts dating to
an advanced post-palatial stage might be assessed also by analysing some evidence from Western
Greece, such as an ivory/bone comb from a tomb at Krini near Patras,11 dated to LH IIIC Middle
and strictly comparable with Cypriot exemplars (Karageorghis 1988, p. 331, figs. 1-2). Such evi-
dence belongs to a context – that of elite members using the well-known “warrior-tombs” – which
certainly played a major role in the middle-range exchange with the Western Adriatic (Deger-
Jalkotzy 2006, with literature; cf. Eder, Jung 2005, pp. 490-491).
In Cyprus itself the few hints of Italian contacts provided with reliable contexts point more to a
date within LC IIIB, possibly 11th century, than to earlier phases. We may mention the well-known
comb of Frattesina type, coming from a LC IIIB funerary assemblage (Vagnetti 1986, p. 210;
Bettelli, Damiani 2005, p. 21, with literature); a triangular fibula with twisted arch from Kourion
is dated to the same phase (Christou 1994, pp. 180; 186, fig. 8, 5; Pacciarelli 2000, p. 183). More
generally, regarding possible links with “Urnfield or “koine bronzes”, a true violin-bow fibula from
Kition belongs to LC IIIB as well (Karageorghis, Demas 1985, pl. 216, no. 5032).
A quick survey of the so-called Urnfield or foreign bronzes, in particular, suggests that the
opinions expressed by scholars such as H. Matthäus (1980, pp. 136-137) and I. Bouzek (1985,
pp. 209-211) – who claimed that Cyprus somehow remained apart from the Late Bronze Age

11 Papazoglou-Manioudaki 1994, pp. 185, fig. 8; it is worth mentioning that from Western Peloponnese, near Olympia,
a LH IIIC late vessel from a tomb assemblage was found which seems to reproduce a Cypriot 11th century type: Vikatou,
Karageorghis 2006.

Patterns of Bronze Circulation and Deposition

metal connections linking the Aegean world to the central Mediterranean area – seem to be well-
Regarding swords, it is worth mentioning the scarcity in the island of flanged-hilted swords
provided with spurs, that is swords comparable with the Allerona and related types, widespread
throughout Ha A1 Europe.12 As for daggers, the “Peschiera” dagger presented by Courtois (1982,
p. 170, fig. 4, 14; Id. 1984, p. 10, no. 14; fig. 8, 2, pl. 1, 5) from Enkomi, because of the lenticular
section of the shoulders and blade, does not, in my opinion, convincingly join the repertoire of the
Pertosa exemplars widespread in the Aegean and might belong, I would maintain, to an early stage
in the production of flanged daggers.13 As for knives, the several exemplars from Cypriot contexts
are very different from the European products, in particular as regards the handle system, which in
Cyprus consists mostly of tanged hilts.14 As for fibulae, as has already been said, it is very difficult
to identify, within the Cypriot repertoire, true violin-bow fibulae dating to an early stage of the
Late Bronze Age productions; datable Cypriot fibulae mostly belong to late IIIA or, better, to IIIB
contexts (Courtois 1984, pp. 32-33; Pilides 1994, p. 107; Steel 2004, p. 196). The very few earlier
examples come from particular contexts, such as Maa Palaikastro, Floors 1 and 2 (Karageorghis,
Demas 1988, pls. 63; 185, no. 662; 120; 221, no. 2), where the strong Minoan components in the
material culture could suggest exclusive dynamics of bronze circulation peculiar to the site and
somehow selective, westwards-oriented, channels of communication.
As is well-known, other meaningful items in the contexts of long-distance exchange, such as
razors, wheel-headed pins or wheel pendants, are not known in Cyprus.
Also the evidence of contacts between Italy and Cyprus in the field of textile activities – which
I recently investigated (Borgna 2003) – seems to point to a date late into the Final Bronze Age.
Although the production of ivory and bone items suitable for spinning and weaving is well-
known in Cyprus from LC II on, a marked increase in this industry, characterized by objects
provided with fine incised decoration and by particular classes of artefacts such as “needle”
boxes, seems to have occurred in LC IIIB. The huge amount of multiple ivory/bone objects,
mostly suitable for female activities, in CG contexts at Amathus and other sites suggests a strong
continuity of this industry throughout the centuries close to the transition between the 2nd and the
1st millennium B.C.15 In Italy, the most precise comparisons for these objects, including “needle
boxes”, are to be found in the funerary assemblages of Frattesina, mostly datable to BF 2 (Borgna
2003, p. 539, fig. 9).

12 Cf. Pilides 1994, p. 99ff.; as for the short exemplar from Enkomi (tomb 47), this unicum, attributed by Catling (1964, p.
113, pl. 12k) to his group IV, does not seem to be related to the European products; it should probably be dated towards the end
of 12th. I am grateful to R. Jung for calling my attention to this object.
13 Still dating to Bronzo Recente 1 in Italy and LC II in Cyprus; cf. some other types of daggers included in the typological
family of flanged daggers, such as the Gorzano type: Bianco Peroni 1944, pl. 83, no. 1511.
14 Whenever a similarity did exist between Cypriot and Italian knives, it concerned the products with a strongly sinuous
blade, such as the one from Sinda, recently published [Furumark, Adelman 2003, pp. 105-106, pl. 19; cf. e.g. Courtois 1984,
fig. 8, 13 (LC IIIA)], and Italian exemplars belonging to advanced Final Bronze Age types such as the Fontanella type, which
was widespread in Italy from the Alpine north-eastern regions to Castellace in Calabria (Bianco Peroni 1976, no. 48 and pp.
15 For Enkomi in particular cf. Dikaios 1969-1971, pl. 168; for possible distaffs, pl. 132; cf. p. 467 for evidence of elaborate
decorative style on boxes in level IIIB; in CG Amathus see Swedish Cyprus Expedition 2, 2, pl. 160; for boxes e.g. Swedish
Cyprus Expedition IV 1D, pp. 551-555, fig. 74; other references in Borgna 2003a, pp. 526-537; cf. also Karageorghis, Demas
1985, for spindles and other ivories in association with “Granary style” pottery.

Elisabetta Borgna

5. To BF 2 we may assign several bronze assemblages as evidence of the second of the two
suggested Late Bronze Age cycles of deposition in the Caput Adriae region. A discrete part of
this evidence is constituted by some industrial hoards (Madriolo, Porpetto, Dragomelj) (Borgna
1992; Ead. 1996-1997; Ead. 2000-2001, pp. 323-325; Borgna, Turk 1998; Turk 1997) (fig. 2, 1),
that is, hoards either located along main communication routes or belonging to settlement contexts
and consisting largely of huge amounts of raw metal and ingots mostly associated with very few
objects which were, on the whole, drastically fragmented. Pick ingots and shovels, together with
some other objects, such as winged-axes of the Ponte S. Giovanni type, constitute very important
evidence for a BF 2 chronology as well as a strong hint for a highly directional exchange between
the Slovenian hinterland and the south-eastern Alps, the river valleys and the Friuli plain and the
emporial site of Frattesina (phase 2).16
Further evidence of strong contacts with the Po plain area and Frattesina are the funerary
assemblages from Castions di Strada-Evade Viere, in the middle Friuli plain, consisting of trian-
gular, twisted-arch fibulae, a comb of the so-called Frattesina type (see supra), and some torques
with incised decoration (fig. 2, 2).17
The composition of a particular hoard at Verzegnis, in the hills of Eastern Friuli (Vitri 1999, cc.
294-296; Borgna 2000-2001, pp. 320-321) (fig. 2, 3), including fibulae with triangular or asym-
metric arch together with a wheel-pendant and fragments of sheet metal vessels, may be useful to
verify that the type of fibula (violin-bow fibula with very high foot or triangular fibula) belongs
to an advanced stage of Final Bronze Age, as the occurrence of the association represented by
wheel-pendant + torques + sheet metal products in late Slovenian hoards (phase III) would sug-
gest.18 All these materials, together with knives of the Fontanella type and possibly pins with
incised patterns (cf. Pacciarelli 2000, p. 179, with literature; recently Salzani 2005, p. 48, fig. 1),
seem to represent a completely new horizon of bronze circulation, which was possibly affected
by the intervention of new partners in long-distance exchange. A Cypriot component, in particular,
might be consistent with some evidence, albeit slight, pointing to a foreign influence in the me-
tallurgy of the Caput Adriae: I limit myself to mentioning a particular type of pick-ingot (fig. 3,
1), very close to pick instruments attested in Cyprus (fig. 3, 4),19 as well as the fragments of pos-
sible miniature ox-hide or cushion ingots from Porpetto, middle-Friuli plain (supra) (fig. 3, 2),
which join the evidence already available from Makarska to Slovenia and Hungary (fig. 3, 5).20
Some fragments of sheet bronze hemispheric bowls from the Fliegenhöle cave at Skočjan (fig. 3,
3; cf. fig. 3, 6),21 together with some early hints of iron technology in the 11th century (Borgna,

16 Borgna, Turk 1998; Borgna 2007; Bietti Sestieri 1997, pp. 387-390; for the Frattesina hoards see supra, note 6; cf.,
for shovels, Jankovits 1998-1999.
17 Corazza, Vitri 1988; Vitri 1991; Càssola et alii 2005, p. 87, fig. 6; the context is assigned to BF 1 by Carancini et alii
(1998, p. 83).
18 Depojske I, pls. 94-114; for torques see references in Borgna, Montagnari Kokelj 1999, p. 141; cf., in Veneto, exem-
plars from funerary contexts dated to 11th-10th at Montagnana: presso l’Adige ridente 1998, pp. 400-402, fig. 250.
19 Compare Borgna 1992, p. 18, no. 14; pl. 3, 14 (fig. 3, 1) with Matthäus 1985, p. 43, pl. 123, 15 (fig. 3, 4); Matthäus,
Schumacher-Matthäus 1986, fig. 23, 15 (pick fragment from the “Foundry hoard” at Enkomi).
20 For references see Borgna 1992, p. 86; Forenbaher 1995, p. 272; Webb 1999, p. 241; Tomas 2005, pp. 679-680; see also
Pare 1999, pp. 494-498 (a metrological link between the European and the Cypriot ingots is suggested); Peroni 2004, p. 412;
cf. V. Barbarić in this volume.
21 The context is to be published by a team of Italian and Slovenian scholars under the direction of B. Teržan; for sheet
metal objects see Borgna, Montagnari Kokelj 1999, pp. 134-139; Borgna 1999; Ead. 2000, p. 45, with references to Italian
contexts; as for Cyprus: Matthäus 1985, pp. 71-104, pls. 1-15; Id. 1998, fig. 3, 6.

Patterns of Bronze Circulation and Deposition




Fig. 2. - 1. Slovenian hoard of Dragomelj (1) (Turk 1997, p. 50, fig. 1); 2. funerary assemblage from Evade Viere,
Castions di Strada (Udine) (tomb 1) (scale 1:3; vessel: scale 1:4) (Càssola Guida et alii 1984, p. 87, fig.
6); 3. bronzes from the Friuli hoard of Verzegnis (Udine) (scale 1:3) (Vitri 1999, c. 294, fig. 4).

Elisabetta Borgna

Montagnari Kokelj 1999, p. 148, with literature), seem to complete the framework. I do not claim
a direct Cypriot presence in our region; I only suggest that some major change in both classes
and types of bronze items and patterns of metal consumption might be related to new dynamics
of metal supply consequent upon the appearance of new partners in long-distance relationships. I
observe, finally, that most of these new classes and types may be used as meaningful chronological
markers, stressing an advanced phase of Bronzo Finale or BF 2.
Are we allowed to correlate this transformation in the BF 2 Italian bronze industry with the
major breaks and changes involving several Aegean-Mediterranean contexts at the transition from
LH IIIC Middle to LH IIIC Late?

6. When we take into consideration the wider Mediterranean scenario, we can but suppose
that the decrease in visible evidence of a Cypriot presence in Italy during the 12th century (LC
IIIA ca.) was at least in part caused by the general crisis of the Aegean palatial centres and the
interruption of the administered trade, all the more so if the Cypriots were really loyal agents
of such trade. During LC IIIA, furthermore, Cyprus was subjected to a series of catastrophes
which only few centres survived. Although the dispute, namely between scholars who support
the hypothesis of a very rich and flourishing LC IIIA urban society and others who point out the
effect of a general drastic involution, is far from being solved (Negbi 2005, with literature), we
cannot but notice the multiple signs of instability and fragmentation, which make one seriously
doubt the possibility of systematic, structured, free and peaceful trade activity. Several scholars
have envisaged a break, albeit short, within Mediterranean trade activities, coinciding with the
collapse of the palaces (cf. Deger-Jalkotzy 1998, p. 106; Ead. 2002). G. Cadogan (1998; Id.
2005) has recently pointed out some features proper to the LC IIIA societies which would be
much more at home in the framework of Cyprus-Near Eastern contacts than in the traditional
scenario of the Cypriot-Mycenaean connection: at the close of the Late Bronze Age the island
would have been far more closely linked to the Near East than to the Aegean and Mycenaean
In my opinion the urban layout of LC IIIA, including the imposing coastal fortifications, is to
be explained within a framework of social competition and ethnic interaction, peculiar to a com-
posite and decentralized society. The major Cypriot centres probably continued to be important
harbours, but not as points of departure of structured travels systematically organized by some
island-centred political units; they rather became ports-of-call in the framework of a fragmented
sailing pattern or cabotage; trade activities would then have been organized in a scattered way by
different cultural and ethnic groups, for whom visibility of the harbour from the sea had become
a crucial requirement.22 Travellers from different provenances and sailing in multiple directions
could be attracted by monumental coastal layouts, which served as orienteering devices in the
context of short-distance sailing. Such devices began to affect the Cypriot landscape from the
very end of LC II on, to which we date the fortified settlements of Pyla Kokkinokremos and Maa-
Palaikastro (Karageorghis, Demas 1984; Iid. 1988; Karageorghis 1990, pp. 7-10). Such settle-
ments, which were probably westwards-oriented, shared a common feature, namely a marked

22 For concepts of “intervisibility” and “cabotage” see Horden, Purcell 2000, p. 123ff.; Manning, Hulin 2005, p.

Patterns of Bronze Circulation and Deposition

1. 2.




Fig. 3. - 1. pick ingot from the Friuli hoard of Madriolo (Udine) (scale 1:2) (Borgna 1992, pl. 3, 14); 2. “cush-
ion” ingots from Porpetto (Udine) (scale 1:2) (drawings by E. Concina); 3. fragment of emispherical
bowl from the “Grotta delle Mosche”, Skočjan, Slovenian Karst (scale 1:2) (drawing from G. Merlatti);
4. fragment of a pick from Enkomi (Matthäus 1985, p. 43, pl. 123, 5); 5. cushion and oxhide miniature
ingots (Pare 1999, p. 494, fig. 37); 6. bronze bowls from Enkomi (Matthäus 1985, pls.19, 325; 8,

Elisabetta Borgna

Minoan component, which seems to have had a strong impact on several LC contexts, in particular
as regards transport and trade activity – as many stirrup jars seem to demonstrate.23
From this point of view it is worth remembering that, although the repertoire of Cypriot
Handmade Burnished Ware (Pilides 1994) seems to confirm the impression suggested by the
bronzes, namely of a marked distance from western Aegean and central Mediterranean patterns,
among the few HBW Cypriot vessels comparable with Italian types we may quote, in my opin-
ion, the ovoid jar with relief decoration coming from Maa-Palaikastro,24 a site which shows other
west-oriented features within the material culture, including possibly the early appearance of the
violin-bow fibulae (supra).
Within this framework, the hypothesis that some Late Minoan enclaves or mixed Cretan-
Cypriot groups managed for a while to control exchange activities, substituting earlier Cypriot
emissaries and middlemen and moving from some very specific western Cypriot strongholds such
as Pyla-Kokkinokremos and Maa-Palaikastro, deserves to be submitted to a closer scrutiny. In
this way we could explain why Cypriot activities in the Aegean and Western Mediterranean did
not disappear completely but became less visible and more ambiguous to discern, possibly inter-
mingled and mediated by agents with different cultural and ethnic affiliations.
It is possibly not coincidental that just in the same period (LM IIIB Late- IIIC Early/Middle?)
several hints of a Minoan presence have been detected in Italy, beginning with Bronzo Recente
relief-dolii and “IIIB-C” Aegean pottery from the Sibaritide, Sardegna, Sicily and now also from
Rocavecchia.25 I would possibly add the evidence from Fondo Paviani, where a sherd with the
pattern of multiple curved stems executed with negative technique (Bettelli, Vagnetti 1997, p.
617, fig. 356, no. 1) might be referred to the elaborate Cretan style of an earlier part of LM IIIC;
also the sherd belonging to a closed vessel from Terranegra and decorated apparently with the
Minoan octopus tentacles/wavy line pattern (Salzani et alii 2006, p. 1151, fig. 3, 4-5) seems to
point to Crete.
We should not forget that most “Urnfield” or foreign bronzes, in particular those similar to
Italian Bronzo Recente products, come from Crete, as is the case with Pertosa daggers and razors,
violin-bow fibulae already in LM IIIB late contexts and several flanged-hilted knives with stop-
ridge.26 Some knives in particular, belonging to a broad group related to the so-called Matrei and
Mühlau types of the Alpine regions, seem to be useful for establishing an exclusive relationship
between Crete and north-eastern Italy and the Alpine areas (see now Jung 2006, pp. 54-55). Not
only morphological features but also the widespread use of incised decoration on the blade would
suggest such a close connection, which is to be conceived in the field of symbolic exchange

23 Cf. Karageorghis 1999, pp. 53-56; Id. 2002, pp. 74-78; 79-81; many features within the repertoire of the Aegean pottery
of Maa-Palaikastro might be connected, in my opinion, to a Late Minoan component: see. e.g. pls. 170, nos. 91, 107 (pictorial
decoration with fish); 170, no. 155 (double spirals); 183, no. 195 (octopus/wavy line); 180, no. 691 (horns?); 192, no. 287
(flask); 204, no. 59 (carinated kylikes); 235, no. 671 (antithetic streamers); 243, no. 357 (stand); cf. also Niemeier 1998.
24 Pilides 1994, fig. 22/1, no. 28: Karageorghis, Demas 1988, pl. 243, no. 255 (Floor I); cf. Borgna 1994, fig. 146, 140;
Bernabò Brea, Cavalier 1980, pl. 25.
25 Most recently Vagnetti 2003, pp. 55-57; Ead. 2004, pp. 454-455; for Rocavecchia see Guglielmino 2005, pp. 640-641;
Id. 2006, in particular p. 118, pl. 2; for a strong Minoan component see, in my opinion, in particular some pottery from Broglio
and Torre Mordillo: Peroni et alii 2004, p. 170, fig. 2; Arancio et alii 2004, p. 181, fig. 2, in part. nos. 1, 39; cf. Borgna,
Càssola Guida 2006, p. 153 and pl. 4.
26 Sherratt 2000; Bettelli 1999; Borgna 2003b, pp. 166-167; for fibulae see in particular the exemplars from the Psychro
cave and a fibula from Archanes (Sapouna-Sakellarakis 1978, nos. 1, 5, 5A).

Patterns of Bronze Circulation and Deposition

among elites sharing common values of hospitality, conviviality and banqueting (in particular in
north-eastern Italy: see Bianco Peroni 1976, pls. 2-6).
Furthermore, it is well-known that the HBW repertoire of Crete, and in particular Chania, has
been associated with Italian patterns as well (Pålsson Hallager 1985; Bettelli 2002, pp. 122-124).
In this perspective, the population layout of Crete at the close of the Late Bronze Age (from
LM IIIB Late to LM IIIC Middle, ca. BR 1/2-BF 1 in Italy) seems to fit well with the hypothesis
of an important Cretan role in maritime exchange. Flourishing settlements in the coastal plain, in
particular Chania in the West, seem to have been emerging from the second half of LM IIIB on,
after a reassessment of the social and economic relationships following a major crisis (Borgna
2003b). In a post-palatial framework, local elites seem to have been able to reorganize traditional
economic activities and control social relations and exchange, which involved both the coastal
and upland population for a period lasting well into IIIC. The important economic role of Crete
in the post-palatial Aegean seems to be stressed by the several hints scattered in Mainland Greece
and, in particular, by the evidence of imports of Cretan transport stirrup jars in LH IIIC Tiryns
(Maran 2005). A new major break – coinciding with the end of several settlements, a visible
shifting of population towards inner uplands areas and a remarkable change towards a dispersed
settlement pattern – seems to have marked, during the course of mid LM IIIC, the end of such
a balanced and integrated way of life, open to the sea and external contacts. This break might
roughly coincide with the transition between BF 1 and BF 2 in Italy and between LC IIIA and
LC IIIB in Cyprus.
Coming back to Italy, the changes observed in the dynamics and patterns of bronze circulation
roughly at this date (or BF 2) might be at least in part the result of these major transformations
in the international scenario, a sign of which was, most probably, the renewal of direct Cypriot
relations with Italy.
A renaissance of “eastern” communication routes towards the central and northern Aegean and
the West – bypassing Crete – might be suggested by the flourishing of major IIIC communities in
the Cyclades and Eastern Aegean islands precisely in an advanced phase of LH IIIC, as seems the
case of Naxos-Grotta and Chios-Emporio (Vlachopoulos 2003; Guzowska, Yasur-Landau 2003;
cf. in general Deger-Jalkotzy 1998).

7. Summing up, the aim of this short survey was not to claim that Cyprus remained absolutely
isolated during the 12th century – which is not true at all – nor to demonstrate that Late Minoan
sailors maintained an exclusive monopoly on international trade – which would be not realistic.
It is a matter of fact that elite components coming from different regions of the Aegean periphery
and in particular from Western Adriatic Greece played a major role during the whole Late Bronze
Age. My purpose was rather to emphasize, firstly, that the explanation of the Cypriot merchants
as first the opponents and then the direct heirs of the palatial traders after the fall of the palatial
centres deserves re-examination; and secondly, that among the Aegean peripheral sub-elite
components who played a basic role in the progressive transition towards a new world, Cretan
post-palatial elites offered, in my opinion, a major contribution during a precisely-limited period
roughly corresponding with the 12th century, although they did not break with the traditional pat-
terns of social exchange and personal transactions.
This last observation may be verified by again taking into consideration the cycles of bronze
consumption in Italy, which we have tentatively linked to the participation of different partners in
the framework of bronze supply and consumption of goods, first Aegeans and Cretans, then also

Elisabetta Borgna

Cypriots. On the one hand, in the earlier cycle, attested by the Bronzo Recente-Bronzo Finale 1
hoards of North-eastern Italy, patterns of use and consumption of bronze items fit well with the
picture given by the distribution of the “koine bronzes” throughout the Aegean: weapons, tools
and personal objects (swords, daggers, axes, sickles…) point to the existence of discrete spheres
of exchange in the field of symbolic interaction and gift-giving, which were probably a part of
multiple social and economic transactions involving also access to staple goods. Bronze items
could serve in this perspective as important devices of convertibility, according to patterns already
existing during palatial times, in particular as regards sub-elite contexts (Borgna, Càssola Guida
2006, p. 160). The evidence for an ongoing distribution of storage vessels and transport stirrup
jars in many areas and places, as well as the common coastal position of many Late Bronze Age
settlements, in Crete as well as in Italy, which were simultaneously maritime ports and rural
centres, point to an intense exploitation of subsistence activities well integrated with activities of
On the other hand, in the later cycle, that is towards BF 2, patterns of use and consumption
of bronze seem to attest to a new industrial framework involving a major subversion in the sys-
tem of values, as “destroyed” prestige items diverted from earlier spheres of circulation, such as
metal vessels, now mixed with raw and recycled metal in utilitarian deposits, such as the ones
of the Caput Adriae might suggest. Industrial evidence from Frattesina, Montagnana and other
Italian settlements matches now with our knowledge of the urban settlements of Late Bronze Age
Cyprus, inclined to exclusive and specialized industrial and trade practices, possibly implying
new independent economic principles and social values.
As a last point, I would like to stress that the possibility of linking the different successive
stages of bronze circulation and deposition in Italy to major changes and transformations in
the local chronological sequences of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean area may help to
strengthen the idea of a high “connectivity” (Horden, Purcell 2000, ch. 5) in the life of Late
Bronze Age Mediterranean communities which were part of a global system.


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