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Quantifying the Roman EconomyMethods and Problems$
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Alan Bowman and Andrew Wilson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562596

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562596.001.0001

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Approaches to Quantifying Roman Trade

Approaches to Quantifying Roman Trade

(p.213) 9 Approaches to Quantifying Roman Trade
Quantifying the Roman Economy

Andrew Wilson

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews some possible ways to quantify trade in the Roman period, and their inherent methodological and evidential problems. While it is easy to demonstrate the existence of trade, especially long-distance trade, quantification is much more difficult, given the ways in which the archaeological record acts to filter what originally existed. The chapter looks at possible ways of identifying short-distance trade, and examines several case studies of longer distance trade. These include different interpretations of A. J. Parker's graphs of shipwrecks over time, and ways of analyzing an expanded wreck dataset in greater detail; the use of amphorae as a marker for trade; and the production and trade of salted fish, measured by production capacity of salting factories. Finally, it examines the approach of E. Fentress et al. to measuring trade in African Red-slip ware, and discusses the potential for applying this methodology to other classes of pottery.

Keywords:   trade, quantification, shipwrecks, amphorae, fish-salting, African Red-slip ware, short-distance trade, E. Fentress, A. J. Parker

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