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Connectivity and Competition: Agricultural Strategies at the Roman Villa of Vacone, Italy

Date and Time: 
Thursday, April 18, 2019. 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Archaeology Center
Workshop: 
Archaeology: Connectivity and Temporality, An Archaeological View
Meeting Description: 

Ongoing excavations at the Roman villa of Vacone, an extensive late-Republican through mid-Imperial multi-phase luxury villa in the Sabina, have revealed the largest known production facility dedicated solely to olive oil production in central Italy. Over the course of the early Imperial period, we can trace the rise of specialized, export-oriented production of olive oil, followed by the replacement of specialized production with diversified production of oil and wine. This paper introduces the Vacone villa and places it within its local and regional context of surrounding Sabine farms, villas and markets. In particular, it explores the broader historical and economic context in which the productive changes took place. What factors led the owners of the Vacone villa to invest so heavily in the olive, and what subsequently changed their productive strategies? To what extent did inter-regional connectivity play a role in these decisions? Importantly, can we move beyond simple discussions of connections in order to understand the impact of these connections on local productive strategies, and can we detect inter-regional competition in market shares?

Candace Rice is assistant professor of Mediterranean archaeology at the University of Alberta. Her research explores what the archaeological record reveals about the ways in which connectivity changed the nature of the Roman economy through enhanced supra-regional integration and specialized local economic development. Her research publications include articles on Roman maritime trade and shipwrecks, Mediterranean ports and harbours, Roman merchants and trading communities, and Roman villas (from pottery to mosaics). She has excavated at Etruscan, Samnite, Roman, and Medieval sites in Italy, France, and Tunisia, and spent considerable time at Roman and Late Antique sites in Turkey. At present, she co-directs the Upper Sabina Tiberina Project, focused on the excavation of a late Republican to mid Imperial villa in the Sabina. She has held previous positions as a lecturer in classical archaeology at the University of Edinburgh and senior fellow at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations.

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