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Intense community dynamics in the pre-Roman frontier site of Fermo (ninth–fifth century BCE, Marche, central Italy) inferred from isotopic data

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Stoddart, Simon 
Esposito, Carmen 


The Early Iron Age in Italy (end of the 10th to the 8th century BCE) was characterized by 25 profound changes which influenced the subsequent political and cultural scenario in the 26 peninsula. At the end of this period people from the eastern Mediterranean (e.g. Phoenicians and 27 Greek people) settled along the Italian, Sardinian and Sicilian coasts. Among local populations, 28 the so-called Villanovan culture group – mainly located on the Tyrrhenian side of central Italy 29 and in the southern Po plain – stood out since the beginning for the extent of their geographical 30 expansion across the peninsula and their leading position in the interaction with diverse groups. 31 The community of Fermo (9th–5th century BCE), related to the Villanovan groups but located in 32 the Picene area (Marche), is a model example of these population dynamics. This study 33 integrates archaeological, osteological, carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N) (n = 25 human) and 34 strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotope data (n = 54 human, n = 11 baseline samples) to explore human 35 mobility through Fermo funerary contexts. The combination of these different sources enabled us 36 to confirm the presence of non-local individuals and gain insight into community connectivity 37 dynamics in Early Iron Age Italian frontier sites. This research contributes to one of the leading 38 historical questions of Italian development in the first millennium BCE.


Funder: Northern Bridge Consortium (Doctoral Training Partnership)

Funder: Queen's University Belfast Research Fund


Humans, Archaeology, Carbon, Geography, Italy, Nitrogen

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Scientific Reports

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Nature Portfolio
Cambridge AHSS International Research Strategy Fund