Scales of Connectivity in the Late Antique Landscape: Economic Networks in Southern Italy


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




In studies of the Roman economy, historical approaches have modeled big-picture, empire-wide economic processes, often eliding local and rural contexts, while archaeological work has focused too closely on the small-scale, single site experience. This research instead investigates the interactions between local rural contexts—those mechanisms driving wider scale regional economies—by emphasizing the movements of people and objects in activities of production and consumption. It studies the archaeological and literary evidence from southern Italy, a region once characterized as economically marginal and now seen as highly prosperous, to assess the integral role of these connections from the first through sixth centuries C.E.—a period encompassing the Late Antique transition and the fall of the Roman empire. This dissertation argues that southern Italy was more resilient to the vicissitudes of the larger Mediterranean economy because of the quality and consistency of its regional connections, developed over time through these economic flows.