stoddart

Simon Stoddart (University of Cambridge) - Letizia Ceccarelli, Incorporation into the Roman world: rural settlement and production on the frontier between Etruria and Umbria

Recent work with the assistance of Marco Amadei, Jeremy Bennett, Nicholas Whitehead, has studied the potential frontier between Etruscan Perugia and Umbrian Gubbio which lies close to the watershed north of Montelabate (Perugia). Systematic field survey on the Gaslini estate has established an interesting local trajectory for the incorporation of a probable Etruscan enclave on the left bank of the Tiber into the Roman world. Within the immediate area of Montelabate only three sites, Civitella Benazzone, Civitella d’Arna and Col di Marzo appear to have been occupied in the Etruscan period. Excavations at the small naturally defended centre of Col di Marzo suggest an occupation from the fifth century BC until the first half of the third century BC. Incorporation within the Roman political orbit first led to a complete abandonment of the area, but gradually from the late first century BC, small farmsteads began to be inserted, reaching a peak in the early imperial period. The excavation of a kiln complex close to Montelabate itself suggests the economic motive for this demographic shift, that lasted in two distinct phases from the first until the fifth century AD. In the first phase the local landscape was part of a network of wine supply for the major population of Rome and the local market for over two hundred years. This led to the production of flatter bottomed amphorae suitable for shallow draft river craft which could have navigated the Tiber from a point just below the site. The gentle slopes of the low hills of the Apennines were highly suitable for wine and olive production whilst also offering clays of reasonable quality, limestone for temper and plentiful wood supplies for firing the kilns. In a second stage, the kilns we employed for the production of tiles and coarsewares, serving a local economy. From the study of this small region we have an insight into the microeconomics of the Roman empire.