Daphne Nash Briggs
Oxford Journal of Archaeology: 22:3 (2003)
This paper discusses the role of metals, salt, textiles, and slaves in the development of networks of reciprocal exchange that interlinked the élites of Etruscan Italy and Early Iron Age Gaul between the eighth and sixth centuries BC. Maritime and transalpine contact are considered separately. Certain regional specialisms in Gaul are discussed: metals in the west and centre, supporting prosperous HaD élites around the rim of the Massif Central, salt on coasts and in the east, perhaps in exchange for Italian textiles, and slaves perhaps especially from the sixth-century BC Aisne–Marne/Mont Lassois complex. A principal point is to establish the ubiquity and economic importance of women and children as domestic slaves both in Italy and Gaul and their consequent significance as valuable objects of élite exchange. Development in patterns of slave procurement during this period are considered.
I would like to raise some questions about the role of metals, salt, and slaves in the networks of reciprocal exchange that connected Villanovan and Etruscan Italy with Early Iron Age (HaC–D) Gaul between the eighth and late sixth centuries BC. During this period the emergence of urban civilizations in Italy was accompanied by an insistently increasing demand for foodstuffs, raw materials, and human labour from any suitable source. In Gaul and northern Italy pre-existing Urnfield nobilities developed into regional élites, each with its own characteristics yet in constant interaction. This was a process with an internal dynamic of its own that drew upon links of prodigious antiquity both with the Mediterranean world and with central Europe. Ninth- and eighth-century BC Villanovan bronze fibulae and, occasionally, razors, appear sporadically in Gaul from the Alps to the Atlantic and Midi, followed by many other bronzes in the seventh and sixth centuries BC, often from workshops at Vulci and Caere, while from the mid-seventh century BC onwards, Etruscan bucchero nero, ceramic wine transport amphorae, and banqueting wares become commonplace finds at sites in Provence and Languedoc and, less densely, at élite centres inland.