Production Within and Beyond Imperial Boundaries: Goods, Exchange, and Power in Roman Europe

  • Peter S. Wells University of Minnesota

Abstract

After Rome had conquered much of temperate Europe, the administration directed the establishment of industries important to the maintenance of military and economic control of the new provinces. These included stone quarries, pottery manufactures, and metal industries. Recent research shows that much production was not as centralized as has been believed; diverse industrial sites throughout the provincial landscapes indicate a variety of arrangements for supplying the needs of the empire. In many instances, Roman production systems relied upon indigenous traditions of manufacturing. The provincial economies depended also upon materials collected and processed beyond the imperial frontiers. Analysis of Roman imports in Germany, Scandinavia, and eastern Europe, and of the contexts in which they occur, suggesta that goods produced outside of the empire played a major role in the imperial economy. These commercial links, over which Roman authorities had no effective control, contributed to substantial changes in economics and in social and political configurations in societies beyond the Roman frontier.
Published
1996-08-31
How to Cite
Wells, P. S. (1996). Production Within and Beyond Imperial Boundaries: Goods, Exchange, and Power in Roman Europe. Journal of World-Systems Research, 2(1), 419-443. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.1996.90
Section
Archeological and Anthropological Approaches to World-Systems