Dendrochronological evidence for long-distance timber trading in the Roman Empire

Autoři: Mauro Bernabei aff001;  Jarno Bontadi aff001;  Rossella Rea aff002;  Ulf Büntgen aff003;  Willy Tegel aff007
Působiště autorů: CNR-IBE, Institute for BioEconomy, National Research Council, S. Michele all’Adige, TN, Italy aff001;  Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Roma, Italy aff002;  Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom aff003;  Swiss Federal Research Institute (WSL), Switzerland aff004;  Global Change Research Centre (CzechGlobe), Czech Republic aff005;  Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Czech Republic aff006;  Institute of Forest Sciences, Chair of Forest Growth, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany aff007;  Amt für Archäologie, Kanton Thurgau, Frauenfeld, Switzerland aff008
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


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.

Klíčová slova:

Archaeological excavation – Archaeology – Oaks – Rivers – Timber – Trees – Wood – Dendrochronology


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2019 Číslo 12
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