Session: #259

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Mobile Pastoralism, Salt and Cheese. Ethnographic Perspectives on the Spatial Configuration of a Long-Term Mediterranean Triad
This session is dedicated to a historically fundamental cornerstone of the Mediterranean economy, mobile pastoralism, and to an important precondition for its functioning, salt. Both are indispensable for the production of an easily preserved and traded commodity, hard cheese. Two previous EAA sessions (2011 and 2012) focused on upland pastoral sites, published in the edited volume “Summer Farms: Seasonal exploitation of the uplands from prehistory to the present” (2016, Sheffield Archaeological Monographs 16, edited by John Collis, Mark Pearce and Franco Nicolis). In his contribution “Hard cheese: Upland pastoralism in the Italian Bronze and Iron Ages”, Mark Pearce stressed the importance of the production of hard cheese for upland land use in later Italian prehistory, as well as the central role of salt in animal husbandry and cheese-making.

In this session, we aim to look beyond the upland summer farms and focus on the exchange networks in which they were embedded. We welcome papers that explore the spatial configuration of pastoral mobility of all ranges in combination with access to markets where salt could be obtained (if not at the source itself), where dairy products could be traded (if not directly to consumers) and ways in which the triad was organized. We aim at a mix of ethnographic, ethnoarchaeological and archaeological perspectives from around the Mediterranean basin.
mobile pastoralism, salt, cheese, Mediterranean uplands, spatial studies
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
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Main organiser:
Peter Attema (Netherlands) 1
Wieke Neef (Belgium) 2
1. University of Groningen
2. University of Ghent