EPNet – CEIPAC associated researcher Antoni Martín presented new paper publication 29/12/2016

EPNet associated researcher Antoni Martín i Oliveras new paper titled: “Aspectos transversales de lógica económica, productiva y comercial aplicada al envasado, la expedición, el transporte y la distribución de ánforas vinarias del nordeste peninsular (siglo I a.C. –I d.C.). Algunas reflexiones.”, has been published in the “Amphorae ex Hispania: Paisajes de producción y consumo” proceedings of  III Congreso Internacional de la Sociedad de Estudios de la Cerámica Antigua (SECAH)-Ex Officina Hispana, held in Tarragona, past  10th-13th  December 2014.


Abstract:  The majority of the studies about the development of viticulture during antiquity, especially on the Roman period, have in common to rely essentially on archaeological information and to use written sources as complementary support, which, at the most, serves to fix an absolute chronology of a settlement and/or the exact location of a wine production center or a pottery activity in a specific territory.

We start from the idea that in order to study the origin and evolution of a wide-ranging economic and social phenomenon and the introduction of a system of production and intensive agricultural exploitation in a given territory, as in the present case, we must to take into account all the variables, factors and endogenous and exogenous agents involved and influencing each and every one of the stages, production processes, trade, distribution and consumption of the product. So that, we cannot study this phenomenon in a segmented way, without taking into account that it is part of a  complex economic, social and ideological system, with a great tradition, in a slow but constant evolution and a long-term duration.

Much of the studies carried out in recent years have centered on the best preserved materials of the archaeological record, such as the ceramic containers for the expedition and transportation of wine (amphorae) by nautical routes, as well as in the study of the different pottery producing factories as the location of the figlinae, the identification of amphoric production and form typologies. Many times, without taking into account that this pottery activity is subsidiary to a wider economic phenomenon, being only part of a certain stage of the production and trade processes of the main product that moves all the gear: The Wine.

Thus, we believe that in the development of these studies, very often they have left aside transversal aspects that intervene in the different activities developed and that we consider determinants such as:

– Economic and production theory: Principle of scarcity, Law of diminishing returns, Principle of economic efficiency, etc.
– The logic of productive costs: productive function, added value, and economic efficiency, production threshold cost allocation, ratios and added

   cost, etc.
– Commercial aspects: Logistics and transport costs, agents involved, indirect costs, policy and price calculation, etc.
– Legal aspects: Control and regulation both production and trade.
– The ideological and perceptive aspects: “Good of prestige versus good of consumption”.
– Other aspects: Symbolic, religious, cultural, etc.

The evolution of supply and demand is determined by changes in consumption and in markets. Thus a change of commercial orientation necessarily implies changes in the production system as well as in the system of transport and distribution of the product (design of shipping containers, type of cargo – single or mixed, direct or indirect commercial routes, typologies of cargo ships, etc).

This paper seeks to promote the debate by putting on the table all these and other cross-cutting issues that are involved in the configuration of this complex system and in the characteristics of all the elements that form part of it (including amphorae), which often have not been taken into account when making our interpretations.

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