Michael Dietler

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  • Professor in Anthropology and in the College and the Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World


Dietler is an archaeologist who studies colonialism and postcoloniality, political economy, consumption, ritual, material culture, memory, identity politics, Celtic culture, Europe and Africa.

In an article published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, "Driven by Drink," Dietler argued that the introduction of wine into the societies of southern France in the seventh century B.C. significantly changed social and power relations. So important was the trade in wine to the region that it provided an impetus for development of the area surrounding the Mediterranean port of Marseilles, which was founded as a Greek colony in about 600 B.C. At a site in southern France, he discovered a life-sized statue of a warrior that reflects a stronger cultural influence for the Etruscan civilization throughout the western Mediterranean region than previously appreciated.

He is the editor of Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power (Smithsonian Books, 2001) and Colonial Encountersin Ancient Iberia: Phoenician, Greek, and Indigenous Relations (University of Chicago Press, 2009). Dietler is also the author of Consumption and Colonial Encounters in the Rhone Basin of France: A Study of Early Iron Age Political Economy (CNRS, 2005) and Archaeologies of Colonialism: Consumption, Entanglement and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France (University of California Press, 2010).

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