July 2022 MBR The Archaeology Shelf

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Midwest Book Review

Aug 3, 2022, 1:18:56 AMAug 3
The Archaeology Shelf

Athens, Etruria, and the Many Lives of Greek Figured Pottery
Sheramy D. Bundrick
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
9780299321000, $119.95, HC, 352pp


Synopsis: A lucrative trade in Athenian pottery flourished from the early sixth until the late fifth century B.C.E., finding an eager market in Etruria. Most studies of these painted vases focus on the artistry and worldview of the Greeks who made them, but with the publication of "Athens, Etruria, and the Many Lives of Greek Figured Pottery", Professor Sheramy D. Bundrick shifts attention to their Etruscan customers, ancient trade networks, and archaeological contexts.

Thousands of Greek painted vases have emerged from excavations of tombs, sanctuaries, and settlements throughout Etruria, from southern coastal centers to northern communities in the Po Valley. Using documented archaeological assemblages, especially from tombs in southern Etruria, Professor Bundrick challenges the widely held assumption that Etruscans were hellenized through Greek imports.

Professor Bundrick marshals evidence to show that Etruscan consumers purposefully selected figured pottery that harmonized with their own local needs and customs, so much so that the vases are better described as etruscanized. Athenian ceramic workers, she contends, learned from traders which shapes and imagery sold best to the Etruscans and employed a variety of strategies to maximize artistry, output, and profit.

Critique: Illustrated throughout with black-and-white photos, "Athens, Etruria, and the Many Lives of Greek Figured Pottery: is a unique, informative, and inherently fascinating work of original and meticulous scholarship. Impressively well written, organized and presented, this insightful study is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and academic library Ceramic Art History collections in general, and Hellenic Archaeology supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Athens, Etruria, and the Many Lives of Greek Figured Pottery" is also available in a paperback edition (9780299321048, $32.50).

Editorial Note: Sheramy D. Bundrick is a professor of art history at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the author of "Music and Image in Classical Athens".


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