||This thesis examines human mobility and population interactions at the Post-Archaic (fifth to fourth century BCE) site of Satricum, Lazio (Italy). According to Livy, the Volscians moved from the mountainous hinterland into the Latial plain, around the beginning of the fifth century BCE, took over the Latin town of Satricum in 488 BCE, and were defeated by the Romans in 385 BCE. Based on these ancient sources and archaeological fieldwork, scholars propose a cultural shift in Satricum caused by this Volscian migration-event. Therefore, strontium isotope analysis (87Sr/86Sr) is used to assess human mobility from the enamel of third molars (M3). Beside chemical research, nonmetric dental traits are used to examine the nature of biological affinities and phenetic divergence within the Satricum population and between Satricum and other ancient Italian sites.
Nineteen human enamel samples, and a modern snail shell as a reference sample, from three presumable ‘Volscian’ necropoleis in Satricum, are analyzed. The isotopic results of this study yield only one outlier. However, all 87Sr/86Sr signatures, including the outlier, still fall within the expected radiogenic range for the Roman magmatic province in which Satricum is located. All individuals can thus be identified as locals. Assessment of the correlation of 87Sr/86Sr signatures with demographic variables, archaeological features, and post-mortem influences, is attempted but provides no statistically significant results. Future research which includes more samples from Satricum and from the hinterland could provide more insights and more reliable results for comparison. In addition, the combination of a complementary oxygen isotope analysis to the present analysis will increase the potential of identifying nonlocal individuals.
Nonmetric trait analysis of two necropoleis, with 22 and 17 individuals, provides insight into the nature of biological population similarity and divergence in Satricum. The analysis shows that the Satricum population differs significantly from other contemporary central Italian populations, although this is probably due to the use of data sets on different scales. In addition, the two necropoleis showed high phenetic dissimilarity, likely indicating two different gene pools were present in Satricum. The dental nonmetric traits show that two different populations lived in Satricum during a relatively small time frame (ca. 150 years). Future research will be needed to sort out which populations these were. For example, the assessment of dental nonmetric traits of more inland sites, where whence the Volscians originated, could provide more insights.
At an individual level, no evidence for ancient mobility is found in Satricum. However, this research suggests that different biological populations did interact during the Post-Archaic period in Satricum.