E. Production and Trade

Spokespersons: Margarita Gleba and Judit Pásztókai-Szeöke 

The great mobility and the vast exchange of subsistence and luxury goods within the borders of the Roman Empire and beyond is a firmly known subject, but the importance of textiles has been underestimated. The origin of fibres reveals the trade of textiles and raw materials over large distances throughout the Roman Empire. It makes it possible to determine special regional production which may have formed central parts of the regional economy, it is also possible to locate production centres and to get information on the organisation and infrastructure of production and trade even in large scale co-operations, and we are able to trace the idea of copying foreign techniques and motives by using regionally common facilities. This study-group focuses on the technology and organisation of textile production and exchange networks as well as on the producers, traders and consumers of textiles.

Common project: Work and Identity: The agents of textile production and exchange in the Roman period

During 2008-2010, this study group will approach the investigation of textile production and trade in the Roman Empire and beyond its borders by focusing on identity of the agents involved in these activities, that is, textile producers, traders and consumers. The questions to be explored are: who produced and distributed textiles and clothing; how were they organized; what was their social status and could it change during the working life; how did their profession affect the personal identity. Identity is understood here in broad terms and includes gender, status, kin-group, ethnicity etc. 

June 2009: One day open workshop at the 4th general meeting in Hallstatt, where participants will present their work on the topic. The results of the workshop will be published in a volume co-written by the Study Group E participants, edited by Margarita Gleba and Judit Pásztókai-Szeőke. The volume will explore the various sources, methods and approaches of investigating the identity of textile producers, traders and consumers in the Roman world and beyond.