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RA 2: Patterns of trade and exchange

The earliest archaeological material from Sinope on the south coast, Histria on the west coast, and Olbia on the north coast dates to the same period, c. 650-625 BC. This contemporaneity is not surprising, since the sailing distance from the Bosporos to the Crimea is no greater than that to, for instance Sinope, and - as recent research has shown, even in this early period sailors were not deterred from crossing the open seas.
                Early trade in the Black Sea, as elsewhere, will presumably have been focused on luxury items, but eventually this developed into a staple trade in foodstuffs, primarily grain and salted fish. Driven by the demand of an Athenian urban market, the Pontic staple trade attained crucial importance for Greek politics, for whoever held control over the straits could deny Athens her daily bread or take his share of the trader's profit. In economic and political terms, the tolls at the Bosporos bear comparison with the Sound Tolls at the entrance to the Baltic.
                This research activity deals with basic conditions for life in the region, resources, production, economy, and trade. Two of the subprojects (RA 2A and 2C) have been joined and investigated as two aspects of the same problem. Special attension has been paid to the subproject on fishing and marine resources (RA 2B), because it can also contribute to a long-term analysis on anthropogenic and natural factors in fishing and marine ecology. The Black Sea region has turned out to be the region where this can be most effectively studied in antiquity. The Centre contributes with data and analysis to the History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP), the historical component of the Census of Marine Life program.

Sub-projects:

RA 2A: Trade, tolls and taxation (Vincent Gabrielsen)

RA 2B: Fish processing and garum trade (Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen)

RA 2C: Trade and the distribution of pottery in the Black Sea (John Lund)

RA 2D: Chronologies in the Black Sea area (Vladimir Stolba, Lise Hannestad)


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