The conference ‘Land and natural resources’, to be held in Brussel on May 26th-Sat. 28th, aims at studying in detail the varied ways in which the Romans exploited their land and natural resources, how they reflected on these usages, and how this contributed to the economic development of the empire. We are interested not in performance per se, but in the structures that made this performance possible.
‘Exploitation of land and natural resources’ should be understood in a broad sense, ranging from the exploitation of uncultivated lands (e.g. hunting and gathering), techniques to bring new land under cultivation, all types of farming, mining and quarrying, to the harnessing of the power of wind and water and techniques of irrigation. These cannot, however, be studied in isolation. Wider economic and ideological developments need to be included, in particular changes in agricultural structure (concentration of land, management of holdings, attitudes of landowners etc.), changes in the market (supply, demand, nature of trading channels) of agricultural goods and natural resources, and changes in state structures (local differences, the role of the tax system, the role of large landowners such as the church); it also needs to be asked how these impacted on the exploitation of the land and natural resources. In addition, ideological factors, such as the idealization of agricultural labor in Roman society, may have had a considerable impact on the exploitation of the land. The conference thus does not wish to study the exploitation, processing and distribution of various natural resources (agricultural and non-agricultural) in isolation from each other, but in their interaction with each other. We believe this integrative approach will greatly enhance our understanding of the foundations of the Roman economy.
Keynote speakers include Dennis Kehoe. Elio Lo Cascio, Christer Bruun, Analisa Marzano e.a.
We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers on any of the above topics. Expressions of interest should be sent by August 1st and Abstracts of c. 500 words should be submitted by Sept. 1st, 2010 to Paul Erdkamp (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Koen Verboven (Koen.Verboven@ugent.be) . To enhance the coherence of the conference we ask you to choose one of the following themes:
- The availability of natural resources
- Ownership and Control
- Organisation and modes of exploitation
- Exploitation and processing of natural resources
- The fruits thereof …
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