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Title: The dark side of Vesuvius : landscape change and the Roman economy
Author: De Simone, Girolamo Ferdinando
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 795X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This study investigates the territories of Neapolis and Nola in order to understand what role they played in the economy of their cities and in Campania. It further explores the difficult relationship between mankind and the fragile landscape of Vesuvius, how eruptions changed settlement patterns, exploitation strategies, and how people dealt with other smaller natural disasters that frequently occurred in that area. The thesis is organised in nine chapters, each describing a separate layer of the landscape. The introduction analyses the reasons for the apparent lack of data for the northern slopes of the volcano and further discusses the theoretical issues pertaining to the economy of the countryside. The history chapter lists the major facts of the histoire événementielle and their connection with the landscape’s longterm history. The third chapter studies the features of the static landscape and the exploitation of bedrock resources. Vesuvius is the subject of the fourth chapter, in which are discussed its shape and the eruptions' effects on the static landscape. Chapter five discusses the river Sebethus and how the intermingled action humans and nature created the marshes. Agriculture and animal breeding are analysed in chapter six, settlement patterns in chapter seven, trade in chapter eight. Through archival research and field survey it has been possible to plot 820 sites from ancient southern Campania, 263 of which from the territories of Neapolis and Nola. This evidence has been matched with environmental and archaeological datasets to provide estimates on agricultural produce and population, thus defining surplus and dependance for certain products. The results reveal a high compartmentalisation and degree of dependence of each micro-regional area on the others, for which one can deduce a high specialisation of each economic agent but not necessarily a high productivity for each of its units.
Supervisor: Wilson, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archeology ; Landscape ; Roman archeology ; Settlement ; Economic and Social History ; Late antiquity and the Middle Ages ; Archaeology ; Landscape Archaeology ; Roman Economy ; Campania ; Vesuvius ; Pompeii