Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Ancient olive presses and oil production in Cyrenaica (north-east Libya)
Author: Buzaian, Ahmed M. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 0886
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis attempts to describe ancient olive oil production in Cyrenaica (North-East Libya) during the mid to late Roman periods. Several authors have argued that the region experienced economic decline from the third century onwards. My research, for the first time, has investigated the archaeological evidence for olive oil production in Cyrenaica in terms of typology, technology and capacity, with an attempt to establish the importance of the industry for the Cyrenaican economy. The study examined archaeological evidence that was collected during recent fieldwork, with data gathered from some 107 rural sites across a wide geographical area covering about 30,000 km². A further important aim of the research was the attempt to identify typology and characteristics of Cyrenaican pressing elements, and establish site typology. In addition, the scale of production is assessed with reference to local production of amphorae, to address the role Cyrenaican olive oil production played in the economy of North Africa and the Mediterranean. The study demonstrates that the lever and windlass press was the predominant type in Cyrenaica with some regional variation in terms of the means by which the fixed end of the press beam was mounted. Only one exceptional instance is recorded of a press adapted with an indirect screw mechanism. Overall, the new evidence clearly demonstrates the increasing intensification of agricultural production, visible in the remains of farms specialising in the production of olive oil, and seems to indicate that both urban centres and rural areas of Cyrenaica were populous and modestly prosperous long after the time of Synesius. A primary conclusion is that olive oil was merely produced for local markets, though there was possibly a surplus in some years intended for overseas marketing. This research has significantly improved our knowledge of olive oil production in Cyrenaica. Tabulated data for different pressing elements and a detailed gazetteer of the sites visited is presented in the appendices.
Supervisor: Mattingly, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available