Hybrid go-betweens: the role of individuals with multiple identities in cross-cultural contacts in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age central and eastern Mediterranean

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Abstract

The point of departure for this paper is a number of tombs found in locations scattered over the central and eastern Mediterranean. Together they cover a period that encompasses the outgoing Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Although dispersed in time and space, these tombs have in common that each of them has features that are definitely of a non-local nature and is different or unusual in comparison to the graves that accompany them. The ambiguity of these tombs and the individuals buried in them has confused archaeologists, which is another element that these burials share. Scholars are divided over the question how to evaluate these individuals and, more in particular, what kind of ethnic identity they had. In this contribution I take a closer look at these tombs with two main aims in mind. First, I offer a different perspective on these ambiguous individuals. I treat them not in isolation but consider them as manifestations of a more widely occurring phenomenon. I argue that these individuals had hybrid or multiple identities, and compare them to other individuals attested in the archaeological and textual records who seem to have possessed comparable positions in intercultural or transcultural situations of increasing interconnectivity. In many recent studies on culture contact, the focus is on larger collectives, such as migrants or colonists. In this paper, however, I highlight the possible role of individuals in culture contacts and explore the phenomenon of cultural hybrids, which constitutes the second aim of my paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChange, Continuity, and Connectivity. North-Eastern Mediterranean at the Turn of the Bronze Age and in the early Iron Age
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
PublisherHarrassowitz Verlag
Pages196
Number of pages220
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-447-10969-7
ISBN (Print)1613-5628
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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