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The Exploitation of Raw Materials in the Roman World: A Closer Look at Producer-Resource Dynamics: Panel 4.4
Compared to other pre-modern economies, the Roman world stands out for having developed a highly specialised and very productive manufacturing sector. This development led to the widespread and large-scale extraction of raw materials. Even in a territory as large as the Roman Empire, such activities put major
pressure on the land. Strategies of resource exploitation and conservation were thus essential in dealing successfully with the limited availability of these resources in the medium or long term, and to ensure the sustainability of the Roman exploitation model. This volume deals with the various ways in which natural resources were exploited and managed in the Roman world. It focuses on if, when, where and how the Romans pursued a harmonious balance between the limited availability of a particular resource and the law of supply and demand. The case studies in this volume cover various key areas of the Western Roman world – from Italy and the island of Elba, over coastal Croatia to Central-Eastern Gaul and the Pannonian limes – and discuss in particular the fi sh industry, iron smelting, deforestation and forest management, the stone trade and the exploitation of thermo-mineral resources.