Explores one of the earliest and most comprehensive archeological explorations of rural Greece

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Copyright © 2006, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


Though the ancient Greeks are generally thought to have been city dwellers, with a primarily urban culture, the polis also included a sizable agricultural territory where farmers worked and lived to produce the means of subsistence for the urban population, as well as a surplus for trade. Discovering the Greek Countryside at Metaponto explores one of the earliest and most comprehensive archaeological explorations of these "other Greeks."

This book stems from a Thomas Spencer Jerome Lecture delivered at the University of Michigan in 2000 and is a synthesis of the methods and results of the investigation of the chora of Metapontum carried out by the University of Texas, in collaboration with Italian authorities, over the last twenty-five years. The fieldwork was designed to address fundamental questions about all citizens of the polis, including the ethnic composition of the colonists and their relationship with indigenous populations; land allocation and use; economic changes over time; growth and shrinkage of the population; modes and places of worship; funeral rites; and correlations between rural and urban life.

The process of data gathering and analysis has required the contributions not only of specialists usually associated with classical archaeology projects-experts in pottery, architecture, terra cotta figurines, metal objects, coins, and glass; photographers; graphic artists; architects; and draftspeople-but also of geomorphologists, soil scientists, paleobotanists, physical anthropologists, osteologists, biochemists, and statisticians. The project has balanced the results of survey with those of excavation and the expertise of classical archaeology with that of the more scientific world. The multidisciplinary character of this endeavor is clear in this magisterial work of synthesis, where the Greeks are seen not as abstractions but against the background of human development in one region over a long period of time.

Joseph Coleman Carter is Director of the Institute of Classical Archaeology and Centennial Professor of Archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin. His publications include The Chora of Metaponto: The Necropoleis.

Joseph Coleman Carter is Director of the Institute of Classical Archaeology; Centennial Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin.

"Unveiling the ancient landscape is the greatest recent achievement of Mediterranean archaeology and the Metaponto Project is its prime showpiece."
—Anthony Snodgrass, Emeritus Professor in Classical Archaeology, Cambridge University

- Anthony Snodgrass

"A one-volume summation of some three decades of path-breaking field research in southern Italy. This exploration of a Greek colonial hinterland employs an astounding range of methods: from satellite imagery, to facial reconstruction, to regional survey, to iconographical analysis of red-figure vases. With this bold combination of techniques old and new, the book demonstrates exceedingly well the developing ‘new paradigm’ in classical archaeology."
—Susan Alcock, John H. D'Arms Collegiate Professor of Classical Archaeology and Classics, The University of Michigan

- Susan Alcock