Although archaeologists have long explored the remains of cities in the Punic world, few have shown an interest in the less-dramatic society of rural areas. This lapse is redressed by van Dommelen (archaeology, Glasgow University, Scotland) and Gomez Bellard (prehistory and archaeology, University of Valencia, Spain) and their colleagues. Bringing together the results of research done in North Africa, Southern Spain and the Islands of Ibiza, Sicily and Sardinia, the authors synthesize their findings to form a picture of rural life over 2500 years ago. Formerly, all that was known about Punic rural society came from Greek and Roman writers. The study begins by discussing their views and how recent work has confirmed or refuted them. The following chapters report by region and over time from roughly the sixth to the first centuries b.c.e. The group conclusions indicate that the depth of Carthaginian influence on rural settlements was not as great as expected, although a change in burial customs was probably brought on by increased contact with Carthage. They also discovered that the rural farms were not unconnected to the rest of the Mediterranean, as trade in foodstuffs and technology was evident. This survey of developments in a new and important area of archaeology deserves serious attention. Distributed in North America by the David Brown Book Co. Annotation c2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Carlos Gomez Bellard teaches in the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology of the University of Valencia, Spain. Peter van Dommelen is Joukowsky Family Professor in Archaeology and Professor of Anthropology at Brown University.