Market strategies in the Roman provinces: Different animal husbandry systems explored by a comparative regional approach

Groot, Maaike and Deschler-Erb, Sabine. (2015) Market strategies in the Roman provinces: Different animal husbandry systems explored by a comparative regional approach. Journal of archaeological science, 4. pp. 447-460.

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The Roman occupation led to urbanisation, trade and population increases in the northwestern provinces, which caused an increased demand for food. The adaptation of agrarian regimes to satisfy this increased demand is still little understood. Zooarchaeological data from two regions were analysed in order to identify and explain broad patterns in animal husbandry in regions that are known to have had a different development. Such a systematic and direct comparison of zooarchaeological data from two regions in the Roman Empire has not been carried out before. The data set contains 128 assemblages from 81 rural sites in the Lower Rhine region in the Netherlands and the northern part of modern Switzerland, with a total of over 68,000 bone fragments of cattle, sheep or goat and pig. Analysis revealed differences in species proportions, with cattle and horse more important in the Dutch research area and pig and chicken in the Swiss research area. Slaughter ages revealed further differences in exploitation, with a larger focus on meat in the Dutch research area, and a larger emphasis on arable farming, transport and industry in the Swiss research area. The Swiss research area also shows evidence of more intensive pork production. Cattle increase in size in both research areas, but are generally larger in the Swiss research area. The differences in animal husbandry can be related to different modes of agrarian production, with a larger scale of farming and a higher extent of specialisation found in the Swiss research area. The conclusion of this study is that while changes in animal husbandry occur throughout the Roman Empire as a result of economic and demographic developments, different regions responded in different ways.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Altertumswissenschaften > Fachbereich Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Provinzialrömische Archäologie > Vindonissa Professur Provinzialrömische Archäologie (Schwarz)
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Archäozoologie (Schibler)
UniBasel Contributors:Deschler-Erb, Sabine
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:30 Jun 2016 10:59
Deposited On:17 May 2016 08:21

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