Quantifying ancient economies: problems and methodologies
Since the beginning of the cliometric studies, the interest in finding formulas and models that help us understand history, particularly economic and social history, have attracted the attention of many researchers. From our perspective, we have paid particular attention to the study of specific data, since we have focused on the study of amphoras containing food, especially wine, oil and canned fish and its epigraphy and, through them, study the direction of the exchanges between the various regions of the Roman Empire and the role played by the state in these relations, in the final analysis, the relationship between politics and economics. In the last decades, in direct relation with the progress of studies on ceramic typologies, considerable progress has been made in the development of quantification procedures.
This interest is integrated into a broader concern for Roman material culture, particularly tableware and food containers, as an instrument to deepen the knowledge of the forms of production, distribution and consumption of manufactured products and liquid or semi-liquid foods that had great importance in the Roman diet. Likewise, and thanks to a better archaeological knowledge of certain regions of the Mediterranean, quantification has become a fundamental tool in the construction of explanatory models on agricultural and artisan production, and on distribution and consumption structures. The ultimate goal is to improve knowledge of the organization and dynamics of the Roman economy and propose, therefore, an interpretative framework to define the nature of it.