A macroeconomic and spatial analysis of long-distance exchange : the amphora evidence from Roman Britain
This thesis examines the economic and social implications of amphorae distribution in Roman Britain. The study reconsiders economic models on long-distance exchange developed in Classical History, following exclusively an archaeological perspective. Such an attempt required the introduction of new methods and techniques for the analysis of archaeological data and their economic interpretation. Consequently, the thesis presents original methodology for the study of pottery distribution, the results of which draw a completely different picture of Roman economy, at least, in the British Isles. The research contemplates the study of amphorae in the initial place of recovery, aiming to discover common patterns of disposal and consumption at local level. In addition, the amphorae distribution is examined at a larger scale since it covers the province of Roman Britain as a whole. This approach permits the linking of amphora distribution to populations, transport networks, purchasing power and exchange mechanisms according to the conditions in Roman times. The interpretation of distribution patterns at both levels is assisted with the support of Geographical Information Systems, in which a series of simulation models have been implemented. Amphorae evidence in Roman Britain represents the effect of long-distance exchange carried out by traders following a number of defined rules. The debate over the characteristics of these rules, also known as exchange mechanisms, becomes the objective in the present research. Therefore, the final theoretical proposals on the nature of long-distance exchange in Roman times can be considered the main contribution of this thesis.