Ep. 023 – Setting Up Shop in the Central Med

The Phoenicians are now on the move, pushing the scope of our podcast to the west. While they were mainly concerned with expanding their access to natural resources like copper, iron, and silver, they weren't entering a vacuum. The Nuragic people of Sardinia were active in a regional trade centered on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and soon after the Phoenicians reconnected the Euboeans with the Mediterranean trade networks, both of them had set up colonies on Sardinia and in western Italy. We look at archaeological evidence for all the activity there, but in the end, this episode is a stepping stone to the Phoenician presence in the far west of the Mediterranean, just as Sardinia was for the Iron Age mariners.

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Listen at the end of today's episode for a brief review of The Sailing Frigate: A History in Ship Models by Robert Gardiner. It is available for purchase both at Pen & Sword Books and at Amazon. For a full review and more information about the book, go here (review coming soon).

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  • Abulafia, David, The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean (2013).
  • Aubet, Maria Eugenia, The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, Colonies and Trade (2001).
  • Braudel, Fernand, Memory and the Mediterranean (1998).
  • Dyson, Stephen L. & Robert J. Rowland, Jr., Archaeology and History in Sardinia from the Stone Age to the Middle AgesShepherds, Sailors, and Conquerors (2007).
  • Markoe, Glenn, Phoenicians (2000).
  • McGrail, Seán, Boats of the World: From the Stone Age to Medieval Times (2009).
  • Miles, Richard, Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization (2010).
  • Nuragic Bronze Boat Model, British Museum. [link]
  • Paine, Lincoln, The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World (2013).
  • Sardinian Bronze Boat, Nuragic Period, Christie's[link]
  • van Dommelen, Peter, et al., Material Connections in the Ancient MediterraneanMobility, Materiality and Identity (2010).

  3 comments for “Ep. 023 – Setting Up Shop in the Central Med

  1. Artyom Anikin
    June 13, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I’m glad you finally addressed Sardinia. I am personally of the belief that they were the Sherden (who share the name of the island) of the sea peoples, who “made a conspiracy in their islands” with the Greeks. The looting of the sea peoples in the west explains the presence of artifacts from the eastern Med in Sardinia. Recent archeological findings at El-Ahwat in Isreal seem to indicate Nuragic architecture there and show that they made it to the Levant and colonized it somewhat in way that matches the story of the Sea Peoples. Taking all this into account, I would argue that they weren’t simply an isolated eastern civilization, but that they potentially played a large role in Bronze Age history. As the Sherden are among the most often named groups among the sea peoples, I would also say that they seem to have played a large role in causing the collapse.

  2. Artyom Anikin
    June 13, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Also, while you are discussing the Phoenicians and their colonization efforts, be sure to investigate recent argcheological inquiry into the megalithic structures in the Azores. It’s really something.

    • Brandon Huebner
      June 14, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Hello Artyom. Thanks for your insightful comments! I will certainly look into the archaeological work being done in the Azores. I can’t say that I know much about them at present, but I remember as a kid that TV documentaries always loved to point to their structures as possible “evidence” connected to the Atlantis myths. That stuff was so fascinating! Even if it wasn’t actually related to mythical lost cities…haha

      Sardinia is also fascinating, for different reasons. I ran across the Sherden connection in my reading but thought it would slow things down if I got into the theory too deeply. I had not ever heard of the possible Nuraic architecture in El-Ahwat, that sounds very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing! Ultimately, you are in good company with your theory about the Sherden, their role in the collapse, and their possible Sardinian origin. Perhaps someday we’ll find more evidence that proves this theory once and for all 🙂

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