Dimitri Van Limbergen (PhD Student University of Pisa), Towards a more diversified roman economy: a working hypothesis for Central Adriatic Italy

The Roman economy was both a well-integrated economic system as a link between a series of regional – essentially agrarian – economies, and it needs to be studied from that perspective. While common characteristics for the whole of Roman Italy cannot be denied, different reactions of indigenous populations, local environmental conditions and specific commercial circumstances hinder the application of a single economic model that could work for the whole Italian peninsula. By accepting the existence of these various regional realities, this research project wants to define the economic position of the ‘peripheral’ region of Picenum and the Ager Gallicus – today’s Marche and Northern Abruzzo – within the wider geographic and commercial frame of Late Republican and Early Imperial Roman Italy and the Mediterranean. The region forms an excellent study case for developing models of local economic and agrarian behaviour within the context of a Mediterranean valley-landscape defined by the presence of small local urban centres in a predominantly rural area. This research project in particular tries to dissect the balance between intra-regional consumption, extra-regional export and extra-regional import in an Adriatic coastal region, whose geographic position favoured commercial contacts with the Eastern Mediterranean and the Northern Adriatic region, but where rural populations and small towns were more likely to have relied upon regional supplies than upon extra-regional import.

Kim Van Liefferinge (Phd project, UGent) Water management in the Laurion mines

This poster presents the preliminary results of the 2010 excavation campaign focusing on Cistern no.1 in Thorikos. The site is located in southeastern Attica (Greece), more specifically in the Laurion region. The cistern had been part of a silver processing workshop, of which dozens existed, scattered over the area. The Laurion knew a long history in silver mining; the first traces of these activities even go back to the late Neolithic period. The mines continued to be exploited until the late Roman period, with a peak in Classical times.
To guarantee a smooth progress of the industrial activities, careful water management was crucial, especially since large amounts of water were required both for ore processing and for the people living and working in the workshops. Given the dry climate and resulting water shortage in the Laurion, this has been a major issue throughout the area's history, influencing not only the level of water technology but also the evolution of silver metallurgy in general. Despite the importance of water for analyzing the complex society based in the area, scholars have not devoted any attention on this issue yet.
This situation especially relates to Thorikos. Up till now, water supply at the site was described as a mystery by many scholars. The current research at Thorikos aims at getting a better understanding of this topic by investigating the largest water cistern of the site.  

Devi Taelman (UGent), Quarryscapes of Roman Ammaia (Portugal): a Geoarchaeological Approach

The quarry research of the Roman town of Ammaia (Alentejo, Portugal) studies mainly the provenance of the stone building material, the organization and nature of the extraction and transport, and the use of the stone in the town’s architecture. For this purpose, a geoarchaeological approach was used and several new methodologies were developed to efficiently study the different aspects of the quarry and building process. These methods include the application of different stone sourcing techniques, GIS-based approaches to the stone transport, and the development of a low-cost method to accurately map complex archaeological quarry sites. This contribution presents the result from the study of the ancient extraction sites of the two principal stone types of Roman Ammaia: granite and marble.
Initial macrcoscopic and thin section petrographic study of the stones used in Ammaia, combined with a detailed geologic and geomorphologic assessment of the town’s environment, permitted to identify potential source quarries of the Ammaian stones. These quarryscapes were further approached from an archaeological, geomorphologic and geologic point of view.
For the granite rock, a local source was identified, c. 10 km east of Ammaia. The large quarry complex is implanted on the western slope of a semi-circular hillside that is composed of irregularly distributed granite boulder outcrops. Remains of ancient quarrying are numerous and consist mainly of quarry faces, abandoned roughed-out blocks, wedge holes and spoil heaps.
As no marble outcrops are present in the vicinity of Ammaia, the marble had to be imported into the territory of Ammaia. In an initial phase, the study zone was limited to the nearest marble zone, the geologic unit of the Estremoz Anticline (c. 65 km south of Ammaia). Research in this marble complex focused on the geologic and archaeometrical characterization of the area, as well as the Roman exploitation of the marble resources. Despite intensive modern quarrying, several ancient extraction sites were located and studied in relation to their archaeological, geomorphological and geological background. Historical quarrying was characterized by a very standardized and systematic extraction, using the wedging and trenching method.

Patrick Murray (University of Melbourne), Veteran settlements under Sulla