Dimitri van Limbergen of Ghent University introduces his poster, which won first prize in the White Horse Press sponsored Poster Competition at ESEH Tallinn 2019. Congratulations to Dimitri, whose poster’s combination of graphic strength and concise yet informative text stood out in a very impressive collection of posters.
The history of Italian viticulture between the Late Republic and the High Empire (ca. 200 BC–AD 200) remains very much unwritten. The application of modern-day schematic and bi-sectorial economic concepts to the Roman (wine) economy has produced a flawed but resilient view of Roman commercial viticulture as a proto-capitalist business driven by slave-run estates exploiting intensive vineyards that primarily focused on export. Inspired by the inconclusive nature of much of the ancient source material, recent scholarship has rightly turned away from this adamant, orthodox view towards more flexible, symbiotic land management (tenancy) and (domestic) market scenarios. Yet no attempt has been made to develop a more balanced view of commercial vine-growing itself.
This project fills this void by developing alternative trajectories to viniculture and the wider economy in Roman Italy with a case study of the ‘arbustum’, a silvoarable agroforestry system that mixes vines trained on host trees with crop fields. The aim is twofold: first, to deepen our knowledge on the place of the ‘arbustum’ in the Roman agricultural landscape; second, to assess its role in commercial vine growing over time. I adopt a multidisciplinary approach that combines the ancient source material on the ‘arbustum’ with comparative analysis, ethnographic analogy and GIS-based predictive models in a series of 4 case studies. The results will refine and augment longstanding debates on the Roman (wine) economy.
Dimitri’s poster is reproduced below and may also be accessed in PDF form here: Van Limbergen_poster