The Oxford Roman Economy Project is a research project based in the Faculty of Classics, at the University of Oxford. The project, lead by Prof. Alan Bowman and Prof. Andrew Wilson, was originally funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for the period from October 2005 to end September 2010, but additional funding through the generosity of Baron Lorne Thyssen now allows it to continue.
The Oxford Roman Economy Project currently consists of:
The research programme addresses the fundamentals of the Roman imperial economy and analyses all major economic activities (including agriculture, trade, commerce, and extraction), utilising quantifiable bodies of archaeological and documentary evidence and placing them in the broader structural context of regional variation, distribution, size and nature of markets, supply and demand. The project studies the economy of the Roman world between the Republican period and Late Antiquity, with a particular focus on the period between 100 BC and AD 350, including the era of greatest imperial expansion and economic growth (to c. AD 200), followed by a century conventionally perceived as one of contraction or decline, and then something of a revival under the Tetrarchy and Constantine. Geographically, the project draws on material selected from all over the Mediterranean world.
The large amounts of data that are studied during the project, which mostly already have been published in some form or another, are stored and organized in a large database, which is currently being made accessible online to the wider scholarly community through this website.
An integral part of the project is a series of conferences addressing particular aspects of the economy, such as urbanization (2007), agriculture (2008), trade (2009), metals, mining and coinage (2010), the economics of Roman art (2011), and urban economic life in preindustrial Europe and the Mediterranean (2012).
The SDEP is a Scientific Research Network funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). Besides four Flemish research teams (from Ghent, Brussels and Leuven), SDEP brings together nine international reasearchers and their teams (see the members page for the full list). Our aim is to study what drove economic development and how this in turn changed Roman society: (1) Can the growth/decline of the Roman economy be attributed to its man-made institutional context? (2) Did economic developments change the institutional framework? (3) What part was played by ecological factors? The ambition is to combine data derived from economic archaeology and natural science research with new theoretical frameworks drawn from neo-institutional and development economics and to put these in a comparative and longue durée perspective. For a full description of our research program see our 'mission statement'.
The RSCR (University of Ghent) has a six year research program on Land & Natural Resource – Labour – Capital. Each of these three will lead to an international conference and a collaborative monograph, based partly on the conference papers, partly on seminar papers, partly on new papers. The objective is each time to produce scholarly monographs that are well focused and innovative.
Since the start of the Research Network "Structural Determinants of Economic Performance in the Roman World", the program "Factors of Productions" had been partly subsumed under this new initiative.
Economic History at Reading is an interdisciplinary grouping of academics who combine the skills and methodological approaches of archaeologists, classicists, economists, financiers, and historians combining more conventional literary approaches to the economic past to further our understanding of economic history and development. Our chronological coverage is broad; running from the classical world, through the medieval and early modern periods, right up to the present day (and a little beyond!). Between us, we have expertise in all the key sectors of the economy: agriculture, manufacturing, finance, retailing and consumption, transport, defence. Together we create an enthusiastic and innovative intellectual environment and a centre of excellence in research and postgraduate studies.
The Economic History Society exists to support research and teaching in economic and social history, broadly defined. It does this through publications, including the Economic History Review and a range of textbooks and study packs, through conferences and workshops, through the finance of research fellowships and research grants, and through bursaries and prizes for younger scholars. For further details, see Advantages of Membership.
The Society also acts as a pressure group working to influence government policy in the interests of history, alongside other societies, such as the Social History Society, the Agricultural History Society, the Urban History Group and the Association of Business Historians, and in concert with professional bodies such as the Royal Historical Society, the Historical Association, History UK (HE) and the Academy of Social Sciences. In addition, the Society regularly liaises with funding bodies such as HEFCE, SHEFC, the AHRC and the ESRC.
The Economic History Society is a registered charity which elects from amongst its members a Council of trustees that meets twice a year, in October and at the annual conference in March-April. Policy recommendations are brought to Council for approval by the Executive Committee which consists of the President, the Honorary Secretary, the Honorary Treasurer, the Managing Editor of the Economic History Review, two members elected from Council, and the Chairs of the various standing committees, including Conference, IT, Publications, Schools & Colleges and Women's. An Annual General Meeting is held at the Society's annual conference where elections to Council take place and where Society policy and decisions, together with matters of wider concern to the membership, are discussed.
The objects of the Economic History Society (founded 1926), as stated in its Constitution, are:
The Society is developing a number of resources relating to its history.
The Roman Peasant Project seeks to uncover the lived experience of the peasantry in the Roman period: their diet, economic activities, and social networks. We exploit a combination of field survey, geophysical exploration and targeted, rescue-style excavation, and place these results alongside evidence gleaned from historical, zoo-archaeological, archaeo-botanical and geological sources. Our aim is to produce 'thick descriptions' of the lives of the poorest rural inhabitants of this world, who formed perhaps as much as 90% of the population of the Mediterranean in antiquity.
Based in the Comune of Cinigiano, in the Provincia of Grosseto, Tuscany, our team comprises both Italian- and American-based scholars, along with their graduate and undergraduate students. Our objectives are threefold: to expand the study of Roman antiquity beyond the narrow confines represented by the urban-based aristocracies whose textual and material remains constitute the bulk of our sources; to provide our students with the necessary tools to undertake multi- and interdisciplinary research; and to work in collaboration with a contemporary rural community that hosts us each summer season.
L’objectif du carnet de recherche "Rome, le Tibre, le littoral" est de faire du lien entre des recherches plus spécialisées en cours ou achevées récemment, de susciter de nouvelles pistes de réflexion par l’échange d’informations entre diverses disciplines, et de donner de la visibilité à une question très contemporaine qui constitue le cœur d'un programme de recherche international. Si la réflexion engagée ne concerne pas seulement les problématiques soulevées par ce territoire, ce dernier peut être pris comme un échantillon test d’un problème plus général : la question regarde les territoires en phase de transformations accélérées, et comment accompagner ces transformations pour qu'elles ne nuisent pas au milieu, au patrimoine et aux hommes. Ainsi, loin de se limiter à un espace méditerranéen spécifique, la recherche gagnera à s’ouvrir vers des comparaisons avec des contextes se rapprochant de la situation romaine, par exemple le delta du Nil sur lequel des recherches du même ordre sont en cours.
It may be that there are citizens, who love sea as well as history, such as the factors of marine tourism, yachtsmen, visitors, divers, archeologists and others, and wish to preserve clean water, local culture and history. These people, in collaboration, can stimulate the action of Ancient Mediterranean Ports and the Cities of Sea, and contribute in the salvation of the Mediterranean region. Based on the ancient harbors and the active cities and citizens of the Mediterranean, the mapping, the recording and the prominence of the local cultural identity may begin. At the same time, the conservation of the sea and the safeguard of peace may be enhanced. The Sea, which divides and unites, is the subject and underlay of climate change. Since the Ancient Ports and Cities of the Mediterranean are the basic factors of the activities performed by the active citizens, the latter, if related and collaborating, may begin the reversion and rebirth now.
Directed by Simon Keay, the Portus Project is guided by two main objectives. Firstly, it seeks to build a better understanding of Portus itself, as well as its relationship to Ostia, Rome, and the rest of the Mediterranean. Secondly, it aims to develop techniques that will enhance the ways in which highly complex classical sites can be investigated and recorded, and evaluate the impact of those techniques. Used in combination, non-destructive survey, open area excavation, and the computer graphic representation of excavated and graphically-simulated Roman buildings are key components to achieving these objectives.
The BSR has always been known for its contribution to the understanding of landscapes; BSR projects continue to lead the way in terms of rigour, complexity and scientific interest, and bring the additional interest of a vibrant architectural programme. From the pivotal work of Ashby (whose major legacy remains the important photographic archive in the BSR Library) to Ward-Perkins’ South Etruria Survey (reprised in an externally funded BSR project) to the recent geophysical work conducted by Simon Keay and Martin Millett, from villa to region, from hinterland to city, the BSR has developed remarkable experience in some of the most exciting sites and areas from the ancient world, many now fully contextualised within a broader chronological scope.
The BSR seeks to sustain a broad interest in the western Mediterranean from antiquity to the modern period. The connectivity across the Mediterranean, between east and west, north and south, and via rivers and roads into the hinterland, has led to work on transport of physical objects, and movement of people and ideas, from antiquity to the present day. The BSR hosts the Roman Port Networks Project, which aims to analyze the relationships between Portus and other ports in the Mediterranean from the perspective of the co-presence of traded amphorae and marble. The Portus Project has been one of the most successful archaeological projects of recent years, and a case study for the combination of methods and for public dissemination of results. Portus was Rome’s greatest harbour and exemplifies Mediterranean connectivity.
The Dakhleh Oasis Project (DOP) is a long-term regional study of the interaction between environmental changes and human activity in the closed area of the Dakhleh Oasis, Western Desert of Egypt, but including the larger area of the Palaeoasis. The study includes all the time since the first incursion of humans in the Middle Pleistocene, perhaps 400,000 years ago, down to the 21st century oasis farmers, and all the human activity and all the changing environmental conditions for which there is evidence within the time period.
The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Palmyra is situated at the oasis of Tadmor in the Syrian semi-desert, between the fertile valleys of the Orontes and the Euphrates. Through most of its pre-modern history, the village of Tadmor had a population ranging into the hundreds or thousands. In the first centuries CE the settlement grew into a city with an estimated population of 150.000 - 200.000, establishing it as one of the largest and most important cities of the Roman Empire in the mid-third century. A city the size of Palmyra depended on large quantities of water, food, fuel and building materials. In the ancient period most of these resources had to be secured within the distance of a few days travel. In the case of Palmyra, these surroundings were constituted by the precarious environment of arid steppes and mountains, inhabited by nomadic pastoralists both before and during the peak of Palmyrene urbanity. An important aim of our project is to understand how the oasis-city utilized its territory for agriculture, pastoralism, water harvesting, transport and defense. This is the subject of a joint Syrian-Norwegian archaeological survey between Palmyra and Isriyeh. The first season was conducted in 2008, and the survey will also cover pre-historic and Islamic periods.
The hinterland of Palmyra is interpreted not only as the city’s immediate surroundings, but also its powerful neighbours and the commercial systems it was a part of. Long distance trade was an important source of Palmyrene prosperity. Situated between the Roman Empire and the Parthian and later the Sassanian Empire, Palmyra was in a position to establish itself as a key actor in the maritime and overland networks that conveyed textiles, aromatics, spices and gems from China, India, Arabia and Africa in exchange for metals, glass, wine and money from the Mediterranean. The fact remains, however, that Palmyra was never on the shortest, nor on the most convenient route between Orient and Occident. Through most of recorded history, commerce and travel from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean was mainly conducted by the shorter and better watered Aleppo corridor, further north. For the Indian Ocean commerce the Red Sea - Nile route offered less expensive maritime and downriver alternatives to the long overland and upriver journey from the Persian Gulf, along the Euphrates and to Antioch by way of Palmyra. The second main objective of our project is to analyse the role of Palmyra in context of her position between powerful neighbours and in the wider setting of the Indian Ocean and Orient-Occident commerce.
The Black Sea, known to the Greeks as Pontos Euxeinos or the 'Hospitable Sea', is the focus of this interdisciplinary research centre, which is concerned with ethnic relations, cultural interaction, and economic interdependence in the Black Sea region in the period c. 700 BC-AD 325, but with a main focus on the years ca. 400 BC-100 AD. Although the Black Sea region is viewed as a whole, particular attention is being paid to the north and south coasts of the Black Sea region, i.e. of modern Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey. All projects devote special attention to centre-periphery relations, to cultural interaction as an expression of ethnic and cultural strategies, and the projects all base their analyses on a long-term view of the Black Sea region as a link between Asia and Europe.
The research activities proposed by the Centre are grouped under the following seven headings:
Polis and chora (RA 3)
The coming of Rome (RA 4)
The communication of power and the power of communication (RA 6)
The Bosporan Kingdom (RA 7)
The Black Sea region has witnessed great political, economic and social upheavals over two and a half millennia, from Greek colonization to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which decisively altered the political map of the area, but also opened new opportunities for research co-operation between East and West. The Centre consequently also targets the following secondary objectives as a supplement to the above-mentioned research activities:
to exploit and demonstrate the synergetic potential of joint East-West research projects in the social and historical sciences
to serve as a training ground for the younger generation of researchers
to increase awareness of the importance of the Black Sea region for the early history of Europe and the Middle East