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Title: Deciphering the language of Etruscan dress : a hierarchical clustering analysis re-tailoring Tarquinian tomb painting
Author: Brown, D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 4528
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Tarquinian tomb paintings are of an unrivalled artistic and cultural importance. The primary aim of this thesis is to identify and investigate their pictorial forms, language, and structures of painted dress, so as to re-tailor understanding of Tarquinia, its tombs, and its tomb paintings throughout the Archaic and Classical periods of ancient Italy (approx. 6th – 2nd century BC). Tarquinian painted dress is examined by the application of an original methodological approach, which identifies and investigates the structures of painted dress through the application of a hierarchical clustering analysis. Thereby, the thesis emphasises the significant versatility of dress as an investigative tool in the ancient world, and expands its study, and extends its forms of analysis. Methodologically, it innovatively quantifies Tarquinian tomb painting, which contrasts the typical qualitative and anecdotal methods usually applied when dealing with such visual imagery depicted amidst archaeological contexts. The analysis makes use of numerical procedures to divide a group of given units into homogeneous sub-groups, which allow for the visual inspection of an otherwise complex set of data-matrices. This statistically examines painted dress’s relationships to identify groupings of similarity from within a heterogeneous data-matrix. Seeking deeper structures not readily apparent on the surface, or revealed by more traditional modes of analysis, the study facilitates identification of painted dress’s arrangements, and examines their groupings by applying key tenets of contemporary dress theory. Trends of typological regularity, high frequency, but weak associative strength belonging to 6th – 5th century BC painted dress groupings are identified, as are trends of typological irregularity, low frequency, but strong associative strength, identified as belonging to 4th – 3rd/2nd century BC groupings. Thus, this study contributes a hitherto unidentified varying manipulation of non-verbal sartorial communication, which indicates consciously shifting choices, priorities, intentions, and decisions as to the communicative utilization of painted dress from the 6th – 3rd/2nd century BC. Therefore, painted Tarquinian dress is identified as a key form of non-verbal communication that conveys previously overlooked socio-cultural information, but the thesis also repositions tomb painting as a communicative device. Consequently, it provides new insight into Etruscan dress’s and painted tombs’ broader significance amidst wider Etruscan society.
Supervisor: Fitzjohn, Matthew ; Hobden, Fiona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral