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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Dr Robert Witcher

Image: Modelling the Agricultural Landscapes of Republican Italy.Goodchild, H. & Witcher, R.E. (2010). Modelling the Agricultural Landscapes of Republican Italy. In Agricoltura e scambi nell’Italia tardo repubblicana. Carlsen, J. & Lo Cascio, E. Rome & Bari: Edipuglia. 187-220.

Author(s) from Durham


In this paper, we review two recent models of Roman agriculture presented by Nathan Rosenstein and Paul Erdkamp. Firstly, we identify the similarities and differences between these models in terms of starting assumptions and variables, and evaluate the impact of these differences on their interpretation and significance. We then take these models and locate them within a ‘real world’ environment. This involves confronting theoretical ideals with the complexities of a specific landscape and, in particular, with the evidence of archaeological field survey. We take a small case study area in the ager Veientanus and outline a flexible Geographical Information System (GIS) methodology for modelling agricultural production, with broad implications for Roman demography and economy.


This research derives from an invited paper presented at the 'Agricoltura e scambi nell’Italia tardo repubblicana' conference in Rome (Jan 2008).