Recent Advances in the Study of Ancient Mediterranean: new GIAP Research Webinar Series 2021

We are delighted to announce the start of a new webinar series: ‘Recent Advances in the Study of Ancient Mediterranean’, managed by GIAP researchers. Take a look at the webinar series 2021 poster and mark the date so you don’t miss any of these amazing talks!

The seminars are oriented to communicate glimpses of ongoing, original work and they are presented by prominent principal researchers, regardless of their career stage or academic position.

Researchers will reflect on their current research interests, aiming to provide examples of leading research that open up new horizons in landscape, computational and palaeoenvironmental archaeology, and bioarchaeology. 

GIAP webinars are taking place roughly every three weeks and all sessions are open to the public!

More information will be posted on each of the speakers, at the ICAC Agenda or at social networks.

First webinar will be hold next Wednesday, Frebuary 24th, at 18 h CET:

GIAP webinars#1


This presentation aims to highlight how zooarchaeology can contribute to our understanding of the medieval history of Sicily and how this can also help in gaining a better insight of the broader mechanisms of cultural exchange, transmission and replacement, as well as the co-existence of different ethnic identities.

In detail, a number of faunal samples recovered from different site-types and dated to the medieval period in Sicily are analysed and compared. Zooarchaeological results reveal significant changes in the use of the main domesticates in the Byzantine-Arab and in the Arab-Norman/Swabian transitional periods.

In the Arab period, the socio-cultural effects of the Islamisation of the island are attested by an overall dearth of pigs at most urban sites. By contrast, similarly to the Byzantine period, pigs continue to be represented at contemporary rural settlements, thus suggesting a higher resilience of rural communities toward the newly imposed socio-cultural and religious rules. Sheep become larger in Arab times; such phenomenon was likely driven by an interest to maximise outputs from caprine husbandry, and can be seen as part of the ‘Arab Green Revolution’.

During the Norman/Swabian rule, changes in dietary practices with the previous period are noticed. Although caprines maintain an important economic role, pigs are again present at urban and military sites; such result might be an indicator of an ongoing ‘de-Islamisation’ of the island. At the same time, a further improvement of sheep size indicates a continuity in the Norman/Swabian period of animal husbandry strategies initiated by the Arabs.


Zooarchaeology, medieval Sicily, Islam, food prohibition, sheep increase in size.