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Who were the Thracians? A material perspective on ancient ethnicity

Crystal, Dòmhnall 2021. Who were the Thracians? A material perspective on ancient ethnicity. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This project investigates the relationship between material culture and ethnic groups in Iron Age Thrace (northern Greece and southern Bulgaria). Within the past two decades, studies involving the investigation of ethnic identity have witnessed a persistent but low interest from archaeologists, with the last major pieces of work on the topic published in the late 1990s. It was, therefore, the purpose of this project to update these investigations concerning ethnicity and archaeology through an investigation of a ‘people’ who are often heavily couched in ethnic terms – the Thracians. From the perspective of the Greek authors and other contemporary ancient evidence, the Thracians have been inconsistently depicted both as a single ethnic group with shared customs and as a series of distinct groups with their own traditions and material culture. Therefore, it was the purpose of this project to assess the material basis of such ethnic claims made by the ancient historical authors using the corresponding archaeological evidence. Thus, building on past discursive and materially-focused approaches to ethnicity as began by Siˆan Jones (1997), a more archaeologically applicable method was created in order to deduce its existence in the past. Thus, through a renewed theoretical conceptualisation of ethnicity in the past, a new understanding of the ethnic makeup of Thrace and the Thracians could be offered and used to support the depictions ascertained from the ancient literary evidence. Overall, the project discovered that despite the ancient Greek authors inconsistently discussing the ethnicity of the groups in this area, it was found through the analysis of particularly funerary data that a much broader range of regional identities were in fact being expressed throughout the Early and Late Iron Ages (1200-300B.C.)

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Acceptance
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 18 August 2021
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2021 08:37

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