Scholars have traditionally studied cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean through the artifacts, art, sculpture, and architecture of its various regions. Ancient gardens and their associated horticultural practices are complex artifacts that contribute key information about cultural exchange in the Mediterranean, particularly notions about resources, cultivation, “nature”, power, and display. The ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and of the areas to the east and south, particularly Egypt and ancient Persia – had long, diverse garden traditions. Through commercial exchange and warfare throughout ancient times, these various traditions cross-pollinated. As a result, many of the gardens in the Hellenistic and Roman world fused evolving local traditions with imported features. The various papers in this session seek to examine these interactions archaeologically. For example, the session will touch on how other garden traditions influenced the Roman garden, how Roman gardens influenced the gardens of other cultures in the Mediterranean, and the means through which these exchanges occurred. Specifically, an examination of garden design, horticultural technology, and plant species suggests that gardens were a key space for the display of the fruits of cultural exchange.
- Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis (Oxford University, UK), Kathryn L. Gleason (Cornell University, Ithaca NY)
- James Schryver (University of Minnesota, Morris)
- Kathryn Gleason (Cornell University, Ithaca NY)
- Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis (Oxford University, UK)
- Rona-Shani Evyasaf (The Hebrew University at Jerusalem)