Ancient fishing and fish processing in the Black Sea region
Aarhus University Press
, 2005 - History
- 222 pages
This volume challenges the orthodox view that fishing and fish played only a marginal role in the economy of the ancient world. In fact, there is archaeological evidence for ancient fish processing on a commercial scale not only in the Mediterranean itself, but also on the Atlantic coast and in the Black Sea region, especially the Crimea. Our literary sources testify to the widespread culinary and medicinal use of salted fish and fermented fish sauces in antiquity, and especially in the first centuries AD. In this book, the authors assess the present state of research on ancient fishing and discuss its implications for the history of the Black Sea region, especially the period of Greek colonisation along its shores. While grain has traditionally been viewed as the main export commodity of the Pontic colonies, the existence of salting-vats on the coast of the Crimea indicate production of salt-fish or fish sauce on a large scale, presumably for export. However, many questions remain unanswered: for instance concerning ownership and organisation of the processing facilities, or how the finished product was transported to distant markets.