Session: #1179

Theme & Session Format

1. The Material Record: Current Trends and Future Directions
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

The Exploitation, Uses, and Representations of Marine Invertebrates (Molluscs, Crustaceans, Echinoderms) in the Roman Empire
The aim of this session is to bring together specialists and young researchers working on the role of marine invertebrates (molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms) in the Roman Empire and provinces. It will offer the opportunity to present studies focusing on various themes, such as:
-dietary practices (exploited environments, harvesting methods, targeted species, preparation of batches, commercialisation and transport, culinary practices, food waste management),
-funerary and ritual practices (offerings, deposits, funerary/ritual meals),
-invertebrates in craftsmanship (dye production, wall decoration, construction material).

The aim is to gain a better appreciation of the relationship that communities that were part of the Roman Empire engaged with the marine world. Various records may help us shed light on these aspects, including invertebrate remains (shell, carapaces, other), iconographic evidence (mosaics, frescoes, vases, objects), ancient texts (latin, greek).

A number of more specific research questions may be addressed:
-Are there any differences observed in the ways marine invertebrates were exploited across the Roman empire (West/East, coastal/inland regions, islands/continent) and through time (1st c. BCE to 5th c. CE), as well as with respect to the different identities of various Roman communities?
-What was the impact of the expansion of transport networks in the circulation of marine resources from the coasts inlands?
-What was the influence of romanisation on local dietary traditions linked to marine invertebrates?
-Did the demographic expansion that occurred on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts lead to the overexploitation of marine resources?
-Was availability of marine resources a driving factor for the installation of human groups on the coastal zones?
-What role did the marine world play in the symbolic and ritual expressions of ancient communities?
-What were the reasons behind the choice of invertebrates in craftsmanship, dye production, wall decoration, building techniques?
marine invertebrates (molluscs crustaceans, echinoderms), Roman Empire, dietary practices, funerary and ritual practices, invertebrates in craftsmanship
Session associated with MERC:
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Main organiser:
Caroline Mougne (France) 1
Tatiana Theodoropoulou (Greece) 2
Chiara Corbino (United Kingdom) 3
Annalisa Marzano (Italy) 4
1. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle Paris
2. UMR7264 - CNRS - Université Côte d'Azur Nice
3. University of Sheffield
4. University of Bologna