Establishing the Middle Sea: The Late Bronze Age of Mediterranean Europe (1700–900 BC)

Iacono, F., Borgna, E., Cattani, M. et al. J Archaeol Res (2021)

Accepted 11 December 2020 Published 15 June 2021


The Late Bronze Age (1700–900 BC) represents an extremely dynamic period for Mediterranean Europe. Here, we provide a comparative survey of the archaeological record of over half a millennium within the entire northern littoral of the Mediterranean, from Greece to Iberia, incorporating archaeological, archaeometric, and bioarchaeological evidence. The picture that emerges, while certainly fragmented and not displaying a unique trajectory, reveals a number of broad trends in aspects as different as social organization, trade, transcultural phenomena, and human mobility. The contribution of such trends to the processes that caused the end of the Bronze Age is also examined. Taken together, they illustrate how networks of interaction, ranging from the short to the long range, became a defining aspect of the “Middle Sea” during this time, influencing the lives of the communities that inhabited its northern shore. They also highlight the importance of research that crosses modern boundaries for gaining a better understanding of broad comparable dynamics.