Skip to comments.Dendrochronological evidence for long-distance timber trading in the Roman Empire
Posted on 12/26/2019 11:00:59 AM PST by SunkenCiv
An important question for our understanding of Roman history is how the Empire's economy was structured, and how long-distance trading within and between its provinces was organised and achieved. Moreover, it is still unclear whether large construction timbers, for use in Italy, came from the widespread temperate forests north of the Alps and were then transported to the sparsely-wooded Mediterranean region in the south. Here, we present dendrochronological results from the archaeological excavation of an expensively decorated portico in the centre of Rome. The oak trees (Quercus sp.), providing twenty-four well-preserved planks in waterlogged ground, had been felled between 40 and 60 CE in the Jura Mountains of north-eastern France. It is most likely that the wood was transported to the Eternal City on the Saône and Rhône rivers and then across the Mediterranean Sea. This rare dendrochronological evidence from the capital of the Roman Empire gives fresh impetus to the ongoing debate on the likelihood of transporting timber over long distances within and between Roman provinces. This study reconstructs the administrative and logistic efforts required to transport high-quality construction timber from central Europe to Rome. It also highlights an advanced network of trade, and emphasises the enormous value of oak wood in Roman times.
(Excerpt) Read more at journals.plos.org ...
Who wood have thought that lumber jacks wore togas?
What exactly is your picture supposed to convey?
That is one mighty happy West Virginia Mountaineer. Gotta wonder what put that big a smile on his face?
We tend to think of Roman architecture as monuments and buildings of stone, but that is because stone is more likely to survive. Roman wooden architecture is rarely found these days, but it was the material of choice, especially in Northwestern Europe. Wood was also essential for ship building, and here the Romans were masters of that material.
Did they miss that the Romans were also harvesting and transporting the Cedars of Lebanon?
Heh... when the local PBS station started running those reruns in the 1970s, I think that was in the first episode I ever saw. :^)
Yeah, bronze ships never really caught on. ;^) If anyone could have made that work though, would have been the Romans. :^D Much of the length of the German limes barriers were wood palisade type construction, with large square wood forts now and again. In Herculaneum, the pyroclastic flow tended to carbonize wood, so there are Roman-era wood doors that still swing on their hinges, that kind of thing, plus the upper storeys of some of the buildings, all of which vanished in Pompeii. Due to fire (and barbarian hordes) the Romans used a lot of brick and prefab ceramic roof tiles, ductwork, etc.
Those were major exports to ancient Egypt as well.
It should be noted that the wealth, splendor and achievements such as distant timber harvesting and transport was the product of a capitalist system and the respect for private property rights in Roman law.
Lotta folks interested in large wood.
I’ve wondered what Roman grain ships looked like and if any sunken ones have been found.
Like so much else WATER TRANSPORTATION was the enabling element. Basic Consumer goods were brought from Gaul and even India - it went by river and sea.
It is true that you can use up large timber - remember some of the Colonies in America were started to harvest timber for the British (whose forests were depleted) in the 1600s
Methinks there's a lot of hilarity wrapped up in that question.
Yes, well, some days, I’m kinda punny. ;o]
Kewl, the Romans invented Tie walls...who knew?
When the railroad hadn’t been invented yet!
I’m always astonished at the range and diversity of trade in the ancient world. There have been some amazing finds in the Americas, too: goods that traveled almost unbelievable distances, trade among civilizations most people never hear about.
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