Session: #16

Theme & Session Format

4. Globalisation and archaeology
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

“Economic Archaeology” and Quantitative Approaches – Measuring the Variations in Production and Consumption from Archaeological Data
Economic approaches are crucial to enhance our understanding of prosperity in ancient societies. By assessing variations of production, exchange and consumption, it is possible to describe and interpret fluctuations of wealth and standard of living in human communities. Quantitative measures of production and consumption are vital for archaeologists and historians interested in economic growth and standards of living.
Many archaeological studies of past economies based on quantitative approaches have been published in the past. Most of them are based on multiple variables such as storage capacities of granaries, the type and size of workshops, or the circulation of goods. However, despite what has already been achieved, many archaeologists working on production and consumption still disregard quantitative approaches and limit their focus on technical processes without integrating these into a broader economic scheme. Measurements of economic fluctuations can indeed be challenging. Economic sciences themselves have been created in and for modern times. They often offer limited resources and tools for ancient times. Moreover, archaeological materials differ significantly from written sources used by historians working on contemporary and early modern economies.
We believe it is crucial to develop economic and quantitative approaches for pre-modern economic systems. The improvement of data management systems and the growing practice of rescue archaeology in many European countries since the 1990s provide archaeologists with a considerable amount of data. Thanks to these developments, it is now possible to contemplate quantitative approaches of variations of production and consumption. The aim of this session is, therefore, to present innovative methods to measure variations in production and consumption on short and long-term timelines, on small and large scales. Contributions dealing with the implementation of concepts or methods coming from modern economics are also welcome. We accept papers ranging from prehistorical sedentary societies to mediaeval times, without geographical restrictions.
Economics, Quantitative, Production, Consumption, Growth
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Béline Pasquini (France) 1
Clara Millot-Richard (France) 1,2
Jessica Keil (Austria) 3
1. Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
2. CNRS - UMR 8215 Trajectoires
3. Leopold-Franzens-Uni­versität Innsbruck