This paper analyzes the “Orientalizing” phase of ancient Campania as a historical phenomenon corresponding to social and political transformations within the communities. The passage to the Orientalizing period represents a turning point in the urban definition of the indigenous settlements. Archaeologically, it is possible to observe the change both in material culture and in funerary behavior; but the changes are also manifested in the reorganization of the territorial system and settlement spaces. This study compares the data from the final phases of the Early Iron Age with the archaeological data from the beginning of the Orientalizing period: the focus of the analysis is centered on Pontecagnano and the Ager Picentinus, because in this territory the archaeological record is extensive and well documented. The analysis is subsequently extended to Capua and the other settlements of the Campania plain and highlights the role of the Greek settlements on the coast. The paper ends with a summary of the characteristics of the Orientalizing period in Campania, and the problems yet to be clarified, starting with the definition of “Orientalizing” both from a chronological and material culture point of view.
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