Livestock Trade during the Early Roman Period: First Clues from the Trading Post of Empúries (Catalonia)

Lídia Colominas, Ceiridwen Edwards

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Written sources show that livestock were traded during the Roman period. However, there is scarce information available to characterise this trade because of its invisibility in the archaeological record. In our paper, we shed light on this issue by applying both osteometric and genetic analyses on cattle remains from the Roman trading post of Empúries (Catalonia) to determine how livestock contributed to Roman trade and, thus, to the economy of the Empire. Analysis of 26 cattle metacarpals from Empúries has allowed us to document the presence of different cattle morphotypes in this city during its Early Roman occupation. The morphological and genetic differences seen in Empúries cattle can be explained through trade of different cattle varieties, more appropriate for milk production and/or traction than the local stock. Once arrived at the port of Empúries, these imported cattle would have then been distributed to surrounding villas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number2
Early online date27 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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