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Adam Izdebski

Abstract

This paper examines the archaeological, palynological and textual evidence for economic prosperity in the Anatolian countryside in Late Antiquity. Thanks to the separate analysis of data for coastal and inland regions, it shows that we do not see any substantial differences in the functioning of the rural economy between these two geographical zones. Therefore, the new demand from Constantinople for agricultural produce or a local economy’s proximity to a long-distance exchange network, cannot explain fully the observed phenomena. The vitality and complexity of local economies must also have played an important role in the economic expansion of Anatolia’s late antique countryside.

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Adam Izdebski

Abstract

This paper examines the archaeological, palynological and textual evidence for economic prosperity in the Anatolian countryside in Late Antiquity. Thanks to the separate analysis of data for coastal and inland regions, it shows that we do not see any substantial differences in the functioning of the rural economy between these two geographical zones. Therefore, the new demand from Constantinople for agricultural produce or a local economy’s proximity to a long-distance exchange network, cannot explain fully the observed phenomena. The vitality and complexity of local economies must also have played an important role in the economic expansion of Anatolia’s late antique countryside.

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Adam Izdebski

Abstract

Environmental history is a well-established discipline that until recently focused mainly on the modern era and was dominated by historians. Numerous scholars agree today that this needs to change: a focus on Late Antiquity can help this happen. To make it possible, we should concentrate our efforts on three parallel projects. First, make late antique studies more interdisciplinary, i.e. joining the efforts of historians, archaeologists and natural scientists. Second, look at Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages as a source of case studies that are relevant to the central themes of environmental history. Third, use environmental history as a new framework that has the potential to modify our vision of the 1st millennium AD, by getting us closer to the actual experience of the people who lived this past.

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Adam Izdebski and Michael Mulryan

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Adam Izdebski and Michael Mulryan

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Edited by Adam Izdebski and Michael Mulryan

Environment and Society in the Long Late Antiquity brings together scientific, archaeological and historical evidence on the interplay of social change and environmental phenomena at the end of Antiquity and the dawn of the Middle Ages, covering the period ca. 300-800 AD. It gives a new impetus to the study of the environmental history of this crucial period of transition between two major epochs in premodern history. The volume contains both systematic overviews of the previous scholarship and available data, as well as a number of interdisciplinary case studies. It covers a wide range of topics, including the histories of landscape, climate, disease and earthquakes, all intertwined with social, cultural, economic and political developments.

Contributors are Daniel Abel-Schaad , Francesca Alba-Sánchez, Flavio Anselmetti, José Antonio López-Sáez, Daniel Ariztegui, Brunhilda Brushulli, Yolanda Carrión Marco, Alexandra Chavarría, Petra Dark, Carmen Fernández Ochoa, Martin Finné, Asuunta Florenzano, Ralph Fyfe,Didier Galop, Benjamin Graham, John Haldon, Kyle Harper, Richard Hodges, Adam Izdebski, Katarina Kouli, Inga Labuhn, Tamara Lewit, Anna Maria Mercuri, Alessia Masi, Lucas McMahon, Lee Mordechai, Mario Morellón, Timothy Newfield, Almudena Orejas Saco del Valle, Leonor Peña-Chocarro, Sebastián Pérez-Díaz, Eleonora Regattieri, Stephen Rippon, Neil Roberts, Laura Sadori, Abigail Sargent, Gaia Sinopoli, Paolo Squatriti, Giovanni Stranieri, Raymond van Dam, Bernd Wagner, Mark Whittow, Penelope Wilson, Jessie Woodbridge.
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Alexandra Chavarría, Tamara Lewit and Adam Izdebski

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This paper outlines some key transformations in rural society and settlement patterns in the 4th to 7th c. western Mediterranean, as revealed by archaeological evidence. An overview of discernible trends and current debates about their socio-political contexts is illustrated with examples of well-investigated sites. From this data, two contrasting patterns emerge: intensive, and partly state-stimulated, cultivation of land; systematic animal breeding and specialised production up to the end of the 4th c.; and much more varied patterns of exploiting the landscape, including changes in animal husbandry, changes in land use and crops, and increasing use of uncultivated areas, in the 5th–7th c. This overview is intended to provide a broader framework for the detailed examination of environmental evidence which follows in this volume.

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Inga Labuhn, Martin Finné, Adam Izdebski, Neil Roberts and Jessie Woodbridge

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Many events and developments in human history have been suspected to be, at least partly, influenced by climate and environmental changes. In order to investigate climate impacts on societies, reliable palaeoclimatic data of adequate dating precision, resolution, spatial representativeness, and so on, are needed. This paper presents a survey and analysis of published palaeoclimatic data of the Mediterranean for the 1st millennium AD, and identifies regional patterns of hydro-climate variability, useful for comparison with archaeological/historical studies. It also provides general guidelines to palaeoclimatic data for archaeologists/historians interested in climatic change. We conclude with a discussion of how the emerging patterns of regional climate histories may have had an impact on Mediterranean societies in Late Antiquity.

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Mario Morellón, Gaia Sinopoli, Adam Izdebski, Laura Sadori, Flavio Anselmetti, Richard Hodges, Eleonora Regattieri, Bernd Wagner, Brunhilda Brushulli and Daniel Ariztegui

Abstract

A multiproxy analysis (sedimentology, geochemistry and pollen) of sediments recovered in the Butrint lagoon (Albania) allows us to reconstruct the environmental changes that occurred in the area during the 1st millennium AD. In this paper, we compare these analytical results with the evidence provided by archaeological investigations carried out at the site of the Roman city of Butrint (surrounded by these lagoon waters) and in the city’s hinterlands. From this, we can say that different periods of farming and siltation (AD 400–600 and 700–900) were accompanied by increased run-off and wetter conditions in the region. This coincided with the territorial and economic expansion of the Byzantine empire, suggesting the key role of trade in the profound land use changes experienced in Butrint.