The aim of this work is to outline a general picture of life style and conditions of a population living in Magna Graecia between the 7th and the 4th c. BC by the study of human skeletal remains found in two necropoles from the Matera province, Timmari and Montescaglioso, neighbouring Metaponto, one of the main Ionian Greek colonies. The biological reconstruction was attempted by a holistic approach which foresees the use of anthropometric, anthroposcopic, palaeodemographic, palaeopathological data, the study of skeletal and dentoalveolar indicators of environmental stress and the integration with archaeological and historical information. Interpretation of the results was also based on comparisons with coeval sites from Central-Southern Italy, from Greece and with earlier and later sites from the same region. The two samples from Matera did not show appreciable differences with the other Southern Italian coeval series when compared on the basis of metric and morphometric traits. The comparison with Greek samples was hampered by the scarcity of pertinent data. A high level of muscular activity was observed in males and females, with males clearly more mobile than females. Sexual dimorphism and limb bone lateralisation were marked. Health conditions and nutritional status were good.