Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Bioarchaeology of Roman Seafood Consumption

As more Americans are developing an interest in the local food movement, preferring to purchase and consume perishable foods closer to home in order to cut down on economic and ecological costs of food production, we're also learning more about how the ancient Romans were decidedly not localvores.

It's no revelation that the Romans were importing food to the center of the Empire to feed their growing population: grain from North Africa, to distribute to the Roman poor as a grain dole (Garnsey 1988); olive oil from Greece; and wine from France. But today's Nature news brings a summary of an article in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology by Beltrame, Gaddi, and Parizzi, who argue that a Roman shipwreck discovered with a lead pipe in its hull was transporting live fish around the Mediterranean.

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