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GRANARIES AND WAREHOUSES IN NORTH AFRICA AND EGYPT DURING THE ROMAN AGE. TYPOLOGY, BUILDING TECHNIQUES, FUNCTION, PRODUCTIVE CONTEXT

Final Report Summary - GRAWINAE (GRANARIES AND WAREHOUSES IN NORTH AFRICA AND EGYPT DURING THE ROMAN AGE. TYPOLOGY, BUILDING TECHNIQUES, FUNCTION, PRODUCTIVE CONTEXT.)

The project GRAWINAE in fact is based on a interdisciplinary approach to the study of the grain supply, that has been achieved with the application of different methodologies (excavation, geophysical prospectings, anthropological research, application technology) and capability of integrating the obtained results. Analyses were applied in order to understand technological aspects and productive contexts. The matter of this project was formed by the techniques of construction, interior arrangement, storage system, evaluation of thermo-igrometric conditions, grain species (archaeobotanic data), climatic conditions, lithology and pedology of the soils. This was complemented with the study of transport that was developed at regional level and at a long distance level (historical, epigraphic and geographical data) to obtain a global idea of the supply context and the African grain trade during the Roman age and, more in general, in the Mediterranean area. The researcher has worked closely with colleagues from the Institut de Recherche sur l’Architecture Antique “IRAA (Dr. Evelyne Bukowiecki) in order to understand all the structural characteristics and construction details of warehouses. The subject of research was reinforced with the other activities of CCJ (seminars and courses) as the Archéologie maritime: archéologie navale (person in charge: Dr. Giulia Boetto). As indicated in the project, the fellow was immediately inserted into the team of the research program “Entrepôts et structures de stockage dans le monde antique”, directed by the scientist in charge and aimed at creating a computer tool/ website allowing the collaborative realization of a standardized inventory of ancient storage buildings, in the form of an online database (http://www.entrepots-anr.fr). With regard to the archaeological missions in the ancient city of Dionysias/Qasr Qaroun (Roman Egypt) directed by Professor Emanuele Papi (University of Siena), the activities of Geophysical prospection planned in WP2 (months 1-6) and the study of the granaries attested in the Fayum area (warehouses of Karanis/Kom Uschim, Bakchias/Umm el-Atl, Tebtunys/Umm el-Brigât) have been postponed to February 2012 due to the difficult political situation that has been generated as a result of the demonstrations and protests in Egypt. Archaeological excavation of the roman warehouse at Horrea Caelia/Hergla (Tunisia), planned in WP2, has been postponed to April 2012. The objectives of the research, even if delayed, have been achieved. Research data have been entered into the database and will be presented in the international conference scheduled for January 11, 2013 (Doc. 4). The fellow has already experience in archaeological studies and in the analysis of the storage systems, but the training he has received at the host institution has increased his capacities, thanks to the expertise of the host researchers. Therefore, although his main job theme until now has been archaeology, the training that he has received has delivered him with stronger preparation in the global fields (ancient economy of the African littoral, transport systems on the ships, African pedological context and production, anthropological studies), that were not part of his preparation, reinforcing his research capabilities. The applicant has gained considerable experience in this field of studies thanks to a Marie Curie mobility program. The training at the Centre Camille Jullian (CCJ) - Archéologie Méditerranéenne et Africaine of University of Provence Aix Marseille (France) has had a positive effect on the enhancement and development of his skills and on the ability to create new partnerships between European (École française de Rome (EFR) [French School of Rome]; University of Siena in Italy) and North African research institutes (Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine (INSAP) [National Institute of Archaeological Sciences and Heritage] of Rabat (Morocco); CNRA Centre National de Recherche en Archéologie [Algerian Archaeological Research Centre] of Algiers (Algeria); National Institute of Heritage (INP) in Tunisia). Concerning the grain's supply and the role of the army in the Roman provinces of North Africa, thanks to the collaboration with these institutions, the fellow with the École française de Rome (EFR) [French School of Rome] and the Partner Organisation Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine (I.N.S.A.P.) will present a research project that aims to explore the problem of military grain supply and the role of the army in the territory of ancient western Maghreb, specifically in the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana (present day Morocco). Within the “GRAWINAE” project, the military granary of Thamusida has been examined in detail. It is still today an isolated case and no studies have been carried out to verify the presence of warehouses or granaries in the military camps of the province of Mauretania Tingitana. The research “Granaries and warehouses in north Africa and Egypt during the Roman age. Typology, building techniques, function, productive context (GRAWINAE)” (FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IEF) was accepted for publication in the series Collection de l'École française de Rome (CEF), Roma.

Results achieved:

1. Organic and comprehensive study all the attestations of granaries of Roman age in the African provinces and in the Roman Egypt with particular attention to data of recent excavations;
2. Virtual reconstructions of the buildings with to the raised timber floor (e.g. granaries of Thamusida, granary of Colonia Iulia Valentia Banasa, granary of Lambaesis) with custom-made softwares (3D Studio Max, Autocad 2009);
3. Analysis of the characteristics of the timber floor with custom-made softwares (Eurocode 5), including the principles of states of limit of the structure, the cases of hypothesized load and the classifications of duration.
4. Study of productive contexts, pedology, climatic conditions, grain species.
5. Presentation of the results at different conferences. The results will be published in scientific journals of archaeology:
6. Data base on the “granaries and storehouses in the African provinces and Egypt in the Roman age”.
7. Anthropological study of grain storage structures and areas: traditional and fortified granaries (Ksar) and comparative study.
8. Preparation of the International Workshop on “Granaries and warehouses in the African provinces and Egypt in the Roman age. Typology, buildings techniques, function, productive context.” scheduled for January 11, 2013 (Doc. 4).