Emilia Mataix (University of Southampton), A bird's-eye view: the legal side of Imperial seaborne commerce

This communication intends to study the commercial activities taking place in these sites linked to both the infrastructures and materials associated. This method is labelled as juridical archaeology, and it focuses on archaeological sites where legal activities took place occurred (e.g. contracts, taxation), and it attempts to analyse and explain the causal links between the legal facts reconstructed through the material remains. My work is based on the study of the epigraphy of merchandise (e.g. amphorae, barrels, etc), which reflects the commercial cycle in which the artefact was involved since it was bought (e.g. kilns, workshops) and until it arrived to a destination (e.g. port, market). These inscriptions, which reflect data such as product, or quantity, shape a record and provide essential information about the agreements of sale and transport by sea performed by the parties involved in trade. The model do not just depicts the activity of the ports of the Mediterranean, since when considering other regions of the Roman world, a number of these distribution stages can be identified in the different sources, materials and port structures.Consequently, this approach considers trade from a bird’s-eye view, focusing on the people involved in the transactions performed along the shores and understanding them as interacting activities between the privates, the imperial and provincial authorities.