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    THẠC SĨ Continuity and change in Etruscan domestic architecture a study of building techniques and materials from 800-500 BC 

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  6. Continuity and change in Etruscan domestic architecture a study of building techniques and materials from 800-500 BC 


    Etruscan architecture underwent various changes between the
    later Iron Age and the Archaic period (c. 800-500 BC), as seen in the
    evidence from several sites. These changes affected the design and style
    of domestic architecture as well as the use of raw materials and
    construction techniques. However, based on a supposed linear
    progression from inferior to superior building materials, explanations and
    interpretations often portray an architectural transition in Etruria from
    ‘prehistoric’ to ‘historic’ building types. This perspective has encouraged a
    rather deterministic, overly simplified and inequitable view of the causes
    of change in which the replacement of traditional materials with new
    ones is thought to have been the main factor.
    This thesis aims to reconsider the nature of architectural changes
    in this period by focussing on the building materials and techniques used
    in the construction of domestic structures. Through a process of
    identification and interpretation using comparative analysis and an
    approach based on the chaîne opératoire perspective, changes in building
    materials and techniques are examined, with special reference to four key
    sites: San Giovenale, Acquarossa, Poggio Civitate (Murlo) and Lago
    dell’Accesa. It is argued that changes occurred in neither a synchronous
    nor a linear way, but separately and at irregular intervals. In this thesis,
    they are interpreted as resulting mainly from multigenerational habitual
    changes, reflecting the relationship between human behaviour and the
    built and natural environments, rather than choices between old and new
    materials. Moreover, despite some innovations, certain traditional
    building techniques and their associated materials continued into the
    Archaic period, indicating that Etruscan domestic architecture did not
    undergo a complete transformation, as sometimes asserted or implied in
    other works. This study of building techniques and materials, while not
    rejecting the widely held view of a significant Etruscan architectural
    transition, argues for a more nuanced reading of the evidence and greater
    recognition of the nature of behavioural change during the period in

    I declare that this thesis has been composed by me and that the work is
    my own. This work has not been submitted for another degree or

    Paul M. Miller 30 March 2015


    I would like to thank my supervisor Dr Robert Leighton for his
    ongoing support. His aid and advice has helped me to better understand
    not only my research, but also my limits as a writer and researcher. Over
    the last five years, I have grown as an academic and as an individual.
    This growth is thanks in no small part to his guidance.

    I would also like to extend my thanks to Jim Crow, Ian Ralston,
    Gordon Thomas, Eberhard Sauer, Wendy and Keith Rutter, and Manuel
    Fernández-Götz for their assistance, as well as for their interest in me
    and my research. The encouragement that I have received from the staff
    has ensured the completion of this formidable task.

    Thanks are also due to my colleagues and friends who were there
    for me to try ideas and half-baked theories out on and who made sure
    that I stayed on target: Douglas Fox, Graeme Erskine, Piotr Jacobsson,
    Emanuele Intagliata, Scott Stetkiewicz, Manuel Bermúdez Vásquez,
    Elena Casares Landauro, Chenching Cheng, Sophia Huang, Edward
    Rayner, Annamaria Diana, Gabriele Meloni, Chelsey Noble, David Cree
    and Alex Currie. There are, of course, many more friends to thank than
    can be fit here.

    I cannot emphasise my appreciation of my family enough, without
    whom none of this would be possible. Special thanks to Mom and Dad
    who sat through numerous ramblings and read through countless
    iterations of this work. Their confidence in me was ever reassuring, and I
    relied heavily on their pep talks.

    My final thanks go to Annahita Heydari-Fard. She has been my
    friend, confidant, and occasional boss throughout this process. Thank you
    so much! v

    Table of Contents

    Abstract ii
    Declaration of Own Work iii
    Table of Contents
    List of Tables and Figures ix

    Chapter 1: Introduction


    Chapter 2: Theories, methods and a review of the

    2.1 THEORY 14
    2.1.1 Amos Rapoport and Environment-Behaviour
    2.1.2 Behaviour 19
    2.1.3 Traditional, Habitually Innovative and Actively
    Innovative Behaviours; the Process of Changing
    2.1.4 Conclusions 32
    2.2 METHODS 34
    2.2.1 Identifying Techniques 34
    2.2.2 Working from Concept to Abandonment; Chaîne
    Opératoire and Architecture
    2.2.3 Conclusions 47
    2.3.1 Socio-cultural changes in the broader historical
    2.3.2 Socio-cultural changes in relation to architecture 65
    2.4.1 San Giovenale 79
    2.4.2 Acquarossa 92
    2.4.3 Lago dell’Accesa 100
    2.4.4 Poggio Civitate (Murlo) 105
    2.4.5 Conclusions 113
    2.5 CONCLUSION 116 vi

    Chapter 3: The foundations of early Etruscan
    buildings, 800-625 BC

    3.1 FOUNDATION TYPE 1 126
    3.1.1 Ground Preparation 135
    3.1.2 Wall Footings 141
    3.1.3 Flooring 148
    3.1.4 Roof Supports 151
    3.1.5 Rectangular Foundation Type 1 Buildings 159
    3.2 FOUNDATION TYPE 2 164
    3.2.1 Ground Preparation 170
    3.2.2 Wall Footings 177
    3.2.3 Flooring 185
    3.2.4 Roof Supports 187
    3.3 FOUNDATION TYPE 3 189
    3.3.1 Wall Footings 195
    3.3.2 Flooring 200
    3.3.3 Roof Supports 204
    3.3.4 Élite Residence or Communal Building: a
    Discussion of Function and Social Stratification
    3.4 CONCLUSIONS 210

    Chapter 4: The foundations of Orientalising and
    early Archaic period Etruscan buildings, 625-500 BC

    4.1 FOUNDATION TYPE 4 218
    4.1.1 Ground Preparation 226
    4.1.2 Wall Footings 235
    4.1.3 Flooring 241
    4.1.4 Roof Supports 243
    4.1.5 The Importance of the Courtyard and the
    Appearance of the Building Unit
    4.2 FOUNDATION TYPE 5 254
    4.2.1 Ground Preparation 262
    4.2.2 Wall Footings 278
    4.2.3 Flooring 290
    4.2.4 Roof Supports 294
    4.2.5 Variability in Type 5 foundations 301


    4.3.1 The traditional and innovative techniques of
    Foundation Type 4
    4.3.2 The traditional and innovative techniques of
    Foundation Type 5
    4.3.3 Is There a Discernable Difference in the
    Foundations between a ‘Hut’ and a ‘House’?

    Chapter 5: The walls and roofs of Etruscan domestic
    structures, 800-500 BC

    5.1 WALLS 322
    5.1.1 Defining Non-stone Walling Techniques 323
    5.1.2 Defining Stone Walling Techniques and the Debate
    over the Timber-to-stone Transition in Etruscan
    5.1.3 Evidence of Wall Types 357
    5.1.4 Conclusions on walls 373
    5.2 ROOFS 375
    5.2.1 Ö. Wikander’s Typology and C. Wikander’s Model:
    The Established Concepts of Seventh and Sixth
    Century Tile Roofing
    5.2.2 The Transition between Hipped and Saddle Roofing
    5.2.3 Conclusions on roofs 398
    5.3 CONCLUSIONS 401

    Chapter 6: Material Procurement, Production and

    6.2.1 Stone 413
    6.2.2 Timber 419
    6.2.3 Clay and Cane 429
    6.2.4 Conclusions 435

    800-500 BC?

    6.3.1 800-700 BC 437
    6.3.2 699-600 BC 441
    6.3.3 599-500 BC 453
    6.5 CONCLUSIONS 468

    Chapter 7: Conclusions

    7.1.1 What Instigated the Innovations in Foundation
    7.1.2 2 Is There Evidence for Innovation in Walling
    7.1.3 What Triggered the Transitions in the Construction
    of Etruscan Roofs?
    7.1.4 Summary of Primary Results 493
    7.2.1 The Place of this Thesis within the Scholarly
    Literature; The Broader Implications of Research on
    Building Techniques
    7.2.2 Limitations of this Study 505

    Glossary 513

    Bibliography 529

    List of Tables and Figures

    Chapter 02

    Figure 2.1. The “model of evaluative process”, used in EBR
    studies. 17
    Figure 2.2. The sequence of morphogenesis in cognitive
    structures (e.g. habitus). 30
    Figure 2.3. Tomba della Campana at Veii. 60
    Figure 2.4. Map of Etruria with Poggio Civitate, Lago
    dell’Accesa, Acquarossa and San Giovenale. 78
    Figure 2.5. Plan of San Giovenale Area F East. 80
    Figure 2.6. Plan of the Borgo quarter at San Giovenale. 81
    Figure 2.7. Plan of San Giovenale Area E. 87
    Figure 2.8. Plan of Capanna I at San Giovenale Area D. 89
    Figure 2.9. Plan of Acquarossa Zones C and F. 93
    Figure 2.10. Plan of Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 101
    Figure 2.11. Plan of Poggio Civitate. 107
    Figure 2.12. Section of the agger at Poggio Civitate. 110

    Chapter 03

    Figure 3.1. Plan of Capanna I at San Giovenale Area D. 127
    Figure 3.2. Plan of the Rectangular Timber Building under
    the fifth century BC rampart at Veii. 128
    Figure 3.3. Plan of San Giovenale Area E. 129
    Figure 3.4. Plan of San Giovenale Area F East during the
    Iron Age. 130
    Figure 3.5. Site map of Sorgenti della Nova. 131
    Figure 3.6. Plan of Sorgenti della Nova Section III. 131
    Figure 3.7. Plan of the so-called “Timber Structure from the
    Earliest Age”. 132
    Figure 3.8. Plan of Calvario sui Monterozzi at Tarquinia 133
    Figure 3.9. The channels of the southern end of Abitazione
    2 from Sorgenti della Nova Section III. 135
    Figure 3.10. Section of San Giovenale Area E’s Oval Hut I 136
    Figure 3.11. Abitazione 6 from Section IX at Sorgenti della
    Nova in the course of excavation. 137
    Figure 3.12. Plan of the Iron Age capanna at Fidene. 139
    Figure 3.13. Modern reconstruction of an Iron Age capanna
    at Fidene. 146 x

    Figure 3.14. Site plan of Montereggioni-Campassini. 147
    Figure 3.15. Diagram of four different types of roof supports. 152
    Figure 3.16. Plan of Abitazione 2 from Section III at Sorgenti
    della Nova. 153
    Figure 3.17. San Giovenale Area E during excavation. 156
    Figure 3.18. A modern capanna in Giovita. 161
    Figure 3.19. Section of Huts A, B and C at Luni sul Mignone. 167
    Figure 3.20. Plan of Complex III of Lago dell Accesa Area A. 168
    Figure 3.21. Plans of Lago dell’Accesa Area A Complex V
    and Area B Complex VIII . 169
    Figure 3.22. Plan of Complex II at Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 174
    Figure 3.23. Wall footing of San Giovenale Area E Oval Hut II. 178
    Figure 3.24. Plan of Iron Age Huts A, B and C at Luni sul
    Mignone. 179
    Figure 3.25. Plan of Complex I at Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 180
    Figure 3.26. Plan of Complex VII at Lago dell’Accesa Area B. 181
    Figure 3.27. Plan of Complex IV at Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 182
    Figure 3.28. Plan of Acquarossa Zone K. 192
    Figure 3.29. Illustrated reconstruction of the Large Iron Age
    Building at Luni sul Mignone. 192
    Figure 3.30. Illustrated reconstruction of House I at San
    Giovenale Area F East. 193
    Figure 3.31. Illustrated reconstruction of Northern Bronze Age
    Building at Luni sul Mignone. 193
    Figure 3.32. Model at the Chalmers University of Technology
    at Göteborg of the Large Iron Age Building at
    Luni sul Mignone. 196
    Figure 3.33. Profile of House I at San Giovenale Area F East
    with excavation underway. 198
    Figure 3.34. Plan of House I Period 2 at San Giovenale Area F
    East. 199
    Figure 3.35. Building D at Acquarossa Zone K. 200
    Figure 3.36. Illustrated reconstruction and photograph of the
    Tomba della Capanna at Caere. 201
    Figure 3.37. Possible design of floor structure in the Large Iron
    Age Building at Luni sul Mignone. 202
    Figure 3.38. Illustrated reconstruction displaying the graticcio
    walls and roof supports possibly at use in House I
    at San Giovenale Area F East. 204
    Figure 3.39. Illustrated reconstruction of the Foundation Type
    3 building at Monte Rovello 207

    Chapter 04
    Figure 4.1. Foundation Type 2 socle of Complex II from
    Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 219
    Figure 4.2. Foundation Type 4 socle of Complex IV from
    Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 219
    Figure 4.3. Plan of the Lower Building from Poggio Civitate. 222
    Figure 4.4. Site plan of Poggio Civitate. 223
    Figure 4.5. Site plan of Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 224
    Figure 4.6. Plan of Podere Tartuchino in the first phase. 225
    Figure 4.7. Plan and section of Complex VII from Lago
    dell’Accesa Area A. 227
    Figure 4.8. Plan and section of Complex VIII from Lago
    dell’Accesa Area A. 228
    Figure 4.9. Partial reconstruction of the Upper Building at
    Poggio Civitate. 231
    Figure 4.10. Plan and section of Complex X from Lago
    dell’Accesa Area A. 233
    Figure 4.11. Plan and section of Complex III from Lago
    dell’Accesa Area A. 233
    Figure 4.12. Section of a wall footing from the Upper Building
    at Poggio Civitate. 236
    Figure 4.13. Wall footing in Complex IV from Lago
    dell’Accesa Area A. 237
    Figure 4.14. Reconstruction of the farmhouse at Podere
    Tartuchino in its first phase. 240
    Figure 4.15. Plan of the Upper Building of Poggio Civitate. 246
    Figure 4.16. Plan and section of Complex I from Lago
    dell’Accesa Area A. 247
    Figure 4.17. Plan of Complexes II and III and Tomb 2 from
    Lago dell’Accesa Area B. 248
    Figure 4.18. Hypothetical plan of Complexes VII and VIII from
    Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 251
    Figure 4.19. Hypothetical plan of Complexes III and IV from
    Lago dell’Accesa Area A. 251
    Figure 4.20. Plan of Lago dell’Accesa with possible
    massicciata roadways indicated. 253
    Figure 4.21. Hypothetical plan of San Giovenale Area F East
    in Period 3. 257
    Figure 4.22. Plan of Acquarossa Zones C and F. 260
    Figure 4.23. Plan of the excavations of Areas I and V in the
    Piazza d’Armi at Veii. 261 xii

    Figure 4.24. Plan of the Borgo at San Giovenale. 262
    Figure 4.25. Plan of the early monumental complex from
    Acquarossa Zone F. 264
    Figure 4.26. Plan of Acquarossa Zone F with plough damage
    indicated. 265
    Figure 4.27. Cross-section of Building C from Acquarossa
    Zone F in the first phase. 266
    Figure 4.28. Cross-section of Room 5 in Building C from
    Acquarossa Zone F in the second phase. 266
    Figure 4.29. Plan of Acquarossa Zone B. 269
    Figure 4.30. North-south section of San Giovenale Area F
    East. 270
    Figure 4.31. North-south section of House I from San
    Giovenale Area F East. 270
    Figure 4.32. Section of the Foundation Type 2 rubble socle
    wall footings below the wall footings of House II. 271
    Figure 4.33. East-west cross-section of Building A from the
    Borgo at San Giovenale. 273
    Figure 4.34. East-west cross-section of Building B from the
    Borgo at San Giovenale. 274
    Figure 4.35. The Borgo at San Giovenale. 278
    Figure 4.36. Sections of Houses D and F in the Borgo at San
    Giovenale. 280
    Figure 4.37. Fahlander’s reconstruction of House I from San
    Giovenale Area F East in Period 3. 282
    Figure 4.38. A hypothetical reproduction of the wall
    proposed by Wendt for House A of Zone D. 285
    Figure 4.39. Tower photograph of House III from San
    Giovenale Area F East. 286
    Figure 4.40. Hypothetical reconstruction of the edifici
    monumentali from Acquarossa. 296
    Figure 4.41. Hypothetical reconstruction of the edifici
    monumentali from Acquarossa Zone F. 296
    Figure 4.42. A hypothetical reconstruction of San Giovenale
    Area F East with a high, saddle roof on House II. 299
    Figure 4.43. Hypothetical reconstruction of San Giovenale
    Area F East showing House II with a shed roof. 299
    Figure 4.44. Hypothetical reconstruction of San Giovenale
    Area F East showing House III without a roof over
    Room A. 299
    Figure 4.45. Map of the areas Tarquinia may have had
    greater influence. 304 xiii

    Figure 4.46. A comparison of the ground plans of major,
    monumental buildings from relatively
    contemporary urban centres. 305

    Chapter 05

    Figure 5.1. Illustrated reconstruction of the self-supporting
    walls of the Northern Bronze Age Building at Luni
    sul Mignone. 324
    Figure 5.2. Illustrated reconstruction of the timber frame of
    House 4 at Nola. 324
    Figure 5.3. Illustrated reconstruction of Capanna D at
    Ficana with both self-supporting walls and
    timber frame roof support. 325
    Figure 5.4. Illustrated reconstructions of Sorgenti della Nova
    Section I Capanne 1 and 2, with timber frame. 328
    Figure 5.5. Fragments of daub from House I at San
    Giovenale Area F East. 332
    Figure 5.6. An interior hallway in the House of Opus
    Craticium at Herculaneum. 334
    Figure 5.7. Illustration of traditional tools used in the
    creation of pisé walls. 337
    Figure 5.8. The construction of pisé walls at Allumiere. 337
    Figure 5.9. The reconstruction process of the Iron Age
    structure at Fidene. 338
    Figure 5.10. The construction process of a timber framed
    structure with pisé walls. 339
    Figure 5.11. Illustration of the half-timber frame of a modern
    capanna in Giovita. 342
    Figure 5.12. Modern capanna with dry stone walls at Monti
    Lepini 352
    Figure 5.13. Illustrated reconstruction of the half-timber
    walling system of Acquarossa Zone D House A. 358
    Figure 5.14. Illustrated reconstruction of House I at San
    Giovenale Area F East with graticcio walls. 360
    Figure 5.15. Plan of the Rectangular Timber Building beside
    the Northwest Gate at Veii. 361
    Figure 5.16. Stratigraphic section of a mud brick wall from
    the Upper Building at Poggio Civitate. 362
    Figure 5.17. Sections of the Borgo’s House B at San
    Giovenale with an illustrated reconstruction
    overlay. 365 xiv

    Figure 5.18. Illustrated reconstruction of the farmhouse at
    Podere Tartuchino in the first phase. 366
    Figure 5.19. Excavation of Acquarossa Zone F. 372
    Figure 5.20. Map of early Etruscan roof tile distribution in
    central Italy. 379
    Figure 5.21. Modern tiled roof with tiles resting directly on the
    rafters. 381
    Figure 5.22. Conceptual reconstruction of an Etruscan roof
    in the Gaggera style. 382
    Figure 5.23. Two variants of the C. Wikander model roof. 383
    Figure 5.24. Plan of farmhouse at Podere Tartuchino, Phase I. 384
    Figure 5.25. Plan of the Upper Building at Poggio Civitate,
    Room 5 in detail. 385
    Figure 5.26. Illustrated reconstruction of the edifici
    monumentali at Acquarossa Zone F. 389
    Figure 5.27. Illustrated reconstruction of the edifici
    monumentali at Acquarossa Zone F. 389
    Figure 5.28. illustrated reconstructions of San Giovenale
    Area F East. 390
    Figure 5.29. A typology of hut cinerary urns as described by
    Bartoloni et al. 392
    Figure 5.30. Sections of the early seventh-century, Prayon
    (1975:168) type B1 Tomba delle Antare. 393
    Figure 5.31. Illustrated reconstruction of the edifici
    monumentali of Acquarossa Zone F. 393
    Figure 5.32. Abitazione 2 from Section III at Sorgenti della
    Nova. 395
    Figure 5.33. Diagrams of Büchsenschütz roof support types. 396

    Chapter 06
    Figure 6.1. Limestone socle wall footing of Oval Hut II at San
    Giovenale Area E. 414
    Figure 6.2. Site plan of the necropolis at Populonia. 418
    Figure 6.3. Quercus petraea. 420
    Figure 6.4. Map of the clay deposits in the so-called
    badlands of northern Etruria. 430
    Figure 6.5. Geological map of the Ombrone basin around
    Poggio Civitate. 430

    Table 3.1. Examples of building foundations from 800-500
    BC by type and site. 121
    Table 3.2. The examples of buildings with Type 1
    foundations by site. 134
    Table 3.3. The examples of buildings with Type 2
    foundations by site. 165
    Table 3.4. The examples of buildings with Type 3
    foundations by site. 190
    Table 4.1. The examples of buildings with Type 4
    foundations by site. 221
    Table 4.2 The examples of buildings with Type 5
    foundations by site. 255

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    The purpose of this thesis is to examine the nature and extent of
    changes in building techniques in the domestic structures in Etruria from
    800-500 BC. Where a transition is demonstrable, the degree and possible
    reasons for change are examined. To fulfil this purpose, it is necessary to
    identify the building techniques used in domestic structures in Etruria
    and interpret how and why they were used through time. The framework
    established by the environment-behaviour relations model of
    architectural theory (see section 2.1.1), as well as the broader theories of
    behavioural archaeology, governs these interpretations. The identification
    of building techniques is conducted through descriptive analyses of
    structural features and associated evidence. Identified techniques are
    then interpreted using the
    chaîne opératoire
    approach and comparative
    Both introductory textbooks (e.g. Bartoloni 2012:266-267; Becker
    2014:9-12; Donati 2000:321-324; Ridgway 1988:666) and in-depth studies
    (e.g. Brandt and Karlsson 2001; Colantini 2012; Izzet 2001b, 2007:143-
    164; Steingräber 2001) commonly assume a transition in building
    technology and architectural style in the seventh and sixth centuries BC.
    Of the publications that recognise the supposed transition, the seminar
    proceedings edited by Brandt and Karlsson (2001) is most significant. The
    title of their volume,
    From Huts to Houses: Transformations of Ancient
    , sums up the widespread perception of the architectural 2

    transition. In their introduction to the volume, they assert that a
    transformation occurred in “building material and technologies” (Brandt
    and Karlsson 2001:8). Accordingly, they state that the common use of the
    terms ‘huts’ and ‘houses’ arose in the literature to distinguish between
    structures supposedly resulting from the use of different materials and
    technologies (Brandt and Karlsson 2001:7-8).
    As noted by Brandt and Karlsson (2001), the transition in the
    domestic architecture of Etruria is thus commonly recognised through
    terminology as a transformation in building materials and technologies
    (e.g. Colantini 2012; Colonna 1986; Izzet 2007:152-154; Torelli 1985;
    Steingräber 2001:26). The terminology used to characterise the
    transformation, particularly the terms ‘huts’ and ‘houses’, creates a
    simplified system for the interpretation of architectural features.
    Typically, structures made from wood, wattle and daub and thatch are
    referred to as ‘huts’, whereas structures made from mud brick, stone and
    terracotta roof tiles are ‘houses’. However, the terminology also paints the
    transition as one of linear evolution based on the adoption of superior
    materials. Domanico (2005) is one of the few authors to criticise this
    approach for inaccurately diminishing the complexities and variety of
    techniques in earlier structures. Based on this linear depiction of the
    transition, one technology is replaced by another, as evidenced by the
    appearance of new building materials. From such a depiction it is not
    clear how building techniques (which are the learned behaviours of 3

    architectural creation, maintenance, demolition and reuse; see section
    2.1.2) fit into the perceived transition, if they do at all.
    The architecture of an individual structure varies based on the
    surrounding built environment and the behaviours of the builders
    (Rapoport 1977, 2000, 2006; see section 2.1.1). If a shift in the structural
    evidence is archaeologically apparent, then the built environment or the
    behaviours (including building techniques) of the builders changed. The
    identification and interpretations of building techniques attempt to
    understand architectural change as a product of behaviour. Rather than
    identify the transition based on the appearance of new or different
    building materials, an investigation of the building techniques forces a
    reconsideration of how (via identification) builders interacted with their
    surroundings and why (via interpretation) change in behaviour is
    This approach departs from the identification and interpretation of
    Etruscan architectural features based on building materials and
    technology. Identification is relatively straightforward in the traditional,
    terminological classifications. In Etruscan studies, the typical evidence
    for change in architecture is primarily based upon: the presence of
    different building materials (both raw and manufactured) between
    contexts in the archaeological record, the interpretation of artefacts with
    architectural features (e.g. cinerary urns) or the architectural
    descriptions in Classical sources (e.g. Vitruvius). Interpretation of 4

    architectural features, particularly of the seventh and sixth centuries BC,
    often relates in some way back to the transition in materials (e.g. Izzet
    2007:152-154; Steingräber 2001:25-27). Many interpretations also use
    evidence for material change in other contexts to understand the
    supposed architectural transition (e.g. Bartoloni 2012:266-269; Torelli
    1985). The resulting depiction is thus a linear, evolutionary progression
    from inferior to superior materials that is often reliant on non-
    architectural contexts.
    Making a transition in building materials and technology the focal
    point of interpretation has in effect created the common perception of
    significant architectural change between the Iron Age and the Etruscan
    period. Continuity of tradition is only rarely proposed as a continuation of
    traditional architecture (e.g. Damgaard Andersen 2001; Karlsson
    2006:142-144; Ö. Wikander 1990). Instead, similar building techniques
    are viewed altogether differently based on the different materials being
    used. For instance, walls made of self-supporting pisé are typically
    interpreted as inferior and fundamentally different from ashlar stone,
    despite their similarity as walling techniques and their function in
    Furthermore, the interpretations of the transition in Etruscan
    domestic architecture have changed considerably over the last forty years
    (see section 2.3). Initially, the transition was interpreted as a result of the
    spread of the superior Greek and Near Eastern manufactured materials, 5

    artisans and artistic motifs to the western Mediterranean (Pallottino
    1975:174). A decade later, the transition was explained as the rise of an
    élite class who used new, foreign materials to display their wealth (Torelli
    1985). More recently, the use of new building materials (particularly of
    terracotta tiling and stone) is often associated with urbanisation and the
    need to use space in new ways (Izzet 2007:143-164; Rohner 1996).
    Altering the interpretive focus from building materials and
    technology to building techniques shifts the common perspective of
    architecture from a discussion of new materials and technologies to one of
    identified behaviours. 1 A focus on techniques emphasises the behavioural
    tendency toward habit and the maintenance of tradition rather than the
    more noteworthy appearances of change (see section 2.1.3). In effect, this
    shift of interpretive focus encourages the identification of differences in
    building behaviour rather than instances of technological progress.
    Moreover, with its basis in technique, the recognition of change
    becomes more dynamic. Changing techniques, following psychological and
    sociological theories of behaviour (see section 2.1.3), can be recognised as
    habitually or actively innovative. The distinction is based on a number of
    factors, the primary factor being the relationship between habitus and

    1 The terminological difference between a building technology and technique is subtle.
    Described further in the Glossary, ‘technology’ refers to the know-how and ability to
    apply calculated, practical and mechanical ideas to create an end product, as opposed to
    a ‘technique’, which is a pragmatic operational sequence often (though not necessarily)
    associated with a specific technology (OED Online 2014). A technique, as a specific set of
    actions, is a behaviour (see section 2.1.2), whereas a technology is typically a concept or
    group of concepts. 6

    choice. Interpretations following a
    chaîne opératoire
    approach can
    recognise the subtleties separating the habitually and actively innovative
    techniques through the comparison of the different operations over time
    (see section 2.2.2).
    One of the main problems with the ways that scholars have
    engaged with domestic architecture is the relativism in the definitions it
    uses when discussing and describing the evidence. There is often little
    standardisation in defining architectural features. Simple differences
    between, for instance, what is and is not considered structural, where
    foundations end and walls begin and what makes a building a hut as
    opposed to a house are rarely directly addressed. Even how to identify
    certain techniques using material evidence is not immediately clear or
    even wholly accurate (as is the case, for example, with pisé; see section
    5.1.1). Definitions of any technique based on material evidence are
    essentially relative to intra-site standards or to comparable cases
    elsewhere, which themselves are caught up by similar insecure
    The ambiguity of discussion regarding the evidence has produced a
    muddled use of architectural terminology. The same ambiguity has also
    led to the misrepresentation of evidence. Widespread, vague assumptions
    about building features seem to be used by scholars as an attempt to
    support findings defined by unclear terms. This imprecision has given
    rise to models of architectural development that are not well-founded. 7

    Similarly, incorrect, outdated or unclear terms have made it difficult to
    recognise specific materials or techniques (a common problem when
    discussing the foundations of later, sixth-century BC structures; see
    section 4.1.2). Some terminology is even left out or changed because of
    how a term is perceived (as is likely the case with the use or, rather,
    neglect of the term ‘timber’ for wall structures in early Etruscan
    buildings; see section 5.1.1). This use of terminology corresponds with the
    common use of a similarly outdated evolutionary taxonomy, which has
    been critiqued since the 1970s (Abrams 1989:50-51; Athens 1977;
    McGuire 1983; McGuire and Schiffer 1983; Wenke 1981; Yoffee 1979).
    In this thesis, therefore, the evidence from sites across Etruria is
    described according to a strict definition of terms. This is intended to help
    clarify the material evidence. It also helps to reveal what direct evidence
    for building techniques and technologies exists and what else has merely
    been assumed. To build specific definitions for terms used in this thesis, it
    was essential to look beyond archaeology to vernacular architecture and
    structural engineering. Incorporating the definitions used in these fields
    for common terminology into specific archaeological definitions creates
    the boundaries for the terms necessary for a meticulous evaluation (for a
    full list of defined terminology, see Glossary).
    Examining building techniques with clarified terms allows for the
    recognition of the building process through time, with all of the
    continuances, modifications, adaptations, adoptions and innovations involved in each step of that process. By contrast with the focus on
    building material and technology, this approach makes it easier to
    identify the persistence of tradition and the dynamism of change.
    Whether that change is revolutionary and caused by radical alterations to
    the social fabric or part of a gradual, centuries-long development where
    the visible aspects of the change appear at irregular intervals (or even
    some point in between these two), analysing the construction process is
    essential in order to establish a more reliable interpretation of
    architectural development in Etruria from 800-500 BC.

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