International Council
for Archaeozoology

Zooarchaeology of the Roman Period Working Group

 The onset of Roman civilization and the subsequent creation and expansion of the Roman Empire represent major events in the history of the Old World. They signified the introduction of new economic and social systems that rapidly spread - in a diversified way - to a vast area, encompassing most of Europe and large parts of western Asia and North Africa. Zooarchaeology can contribute to many historical questions associated with our understanding of this remarkable phenomenon. How were different local cultures affected by the conquest? How were the economic and social changes reflected on husbandry strategies and food consumption practices? Can we find any common elements that affected the Roman period as a whole, or were the geographic and cultural diversifications so great that each region tells its own independent story?

There is a thriving community of zooarchaeologists working on these issues (more than 90 up-to-date), who can benefit of tighter collaborative links provided by this ICAZ Working Group on the zooarchaeology of the Roman period. The aim of the group is to represent a network of exchange and collaboration across borders, to help the understanding of the interconnections between the research questions associated with this important historical period. The group also encourage participation of researchers investigating geographic areas that were outside the Roman Empire but adjacent and contemporary to it. Zooarchaeologists involved in investigations of the late Iron Age and the early medieval period that are relevant to the understanding of the Roman period are also encouraged to join.

The first working group meeting took place in Sheffield (U.K.) from 20th-22nd November, 2014. Visit the meeting webpage for details. Some of the papers presented will be published in a special issue of the European Journal of Archaeology.

The members contributed to build a bibliography on the zooarchaeology of the Roman Empire: http://oxrep.classics.ox.ac.uk/bibliographies/zooarchaeology_biblography/

Our next meeting will take place in Basel (1st-4th February, 2018), with a focus on "Animals in funeral and ritual contexts". The call for abstracts is currently open (sabine.deschler@unibas.ch).

Please contact one of the Coordinators if you are interested in this WG:

Silvia Valenzuela-Lamas: svalenzuela@ub.edu

Umberto Albarella: u.albarella@sheffield.ac.uk

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Silvia Valenzuela and Umberto Albarella