, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 269-358

The iron age in Mediterranean France: Colonial encounters, entanglements, and transformations

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During the last seven centuries of the first millennium BC, the indigenous societies of Mediterranean France underwent a series of gradual social and cultural transformations that are linked in complex ways to their encounter and increasing entanglement with the broader Mediterranean world. This article presents a synthesis of current knowledge of this issue and explores some of the main themes guiding research. New evidence concerning the alien colonial agents (Etruscan, Greek, Punic/Iberian, and Roman), and the contrasting nature of their presence and power in the region, is discussed, as is evidence concerning forms of indigenous engagement with colonial states and paths of social and cultural change. The consumption of alien goods (wine, ceramics) and the adoption of foreign techniques and practices (ceramic production methods, coinage, writing) are examined in terms of the locally situated logic of demand and the ramifications for entanglement and change. Transformations in settlements, ritual spaces, funerary practices, and the agrarian landscape are discussed.