TRINITAPOLI: A PRELIMINARY EVALUATION OF THE HUMAN SKELETAL MATERIAL RECOVERED FROM A MIDDLE BRONZE AGE BURIAL SITE IN SOUTHERN ITALY.
The lpogeo degli Avori represents an artificially constructed burial cave of the Middle Italian Bronze Age (1600 to 1350 BCE). The site has received recent attention due to the finding of two ivory statues which bear stylistic similarities to Mycenaean Greek art of the era. The presence of these statues has led some to believe that the site may represent one of the first locations of Greek occupation in southern Italy, though others remain skeptical and suggest rather that the artifacts are merely reflective of trade associations. The current analysis provides a preliminary evaluation of a portion of the human skeletal material recovered from the site with a focus on demographic structure, general population health, and evidence of migration inferred from strontium isotope data. The site appears to consist of the fragmentary remains of at least 3 infants, l0 children , and 12 adults, with both sexes represented. The range of age groups represented, along with the presence of both sexes suggests a settled group. Palaeopathological evaluation suggests a population partaking in significant levels of physical activity, showing lesions suggestive of heavy lifting. Skeletal evidence of nutritional deficiencies was also observed, though alternate explanations were provided for the presence of these lesions. Chemical analysis of six individuals revealed two to be local, and four potentially non-local. The conclusions of this analysis are made in acknowledgement of the limitations associated with commingled burials and with material that is generally in a poor state of preservation, and this study shows that anthropologically relevant information can be obtained from the meticulous evaluation of even heavily fragmented material.