B 10. Harbour to Desert, Emporium to Sanctuary: North African Landscapes of Economic and Social Exchange in the Roman Imperial Period

The geographic region of North Africa (including Egypt) had long participated in the interplay of Mediterranean cultures, but integration into the Roman Empire caused a fundamental shift in this landscape of economic and social exchange. Against this multicultural background operated various mechanisms of connectivity – socio-political, economic, military and religious – and the aim of this session is to explore their mutual impact. This focus on such a range of issues allows for a deeper theoretical understanding of the effects of connectivity on physical and non-physical aspects of local cultural identity. Papers in this session will directly address the following themes: changes in production and consumption as a result of economic integration, the stimulus that Rome’s eastern trade had on the exploitation of resources in the Egyptian desert, shifts in religious identity, the economic and social composition of harbour cities, long-distance trade in North African cookwares, and finally how the region was perceived abroad. Through the integration of several varying approaches, this session will expand the boundaries of research in this area and will stress the interaction of cultures as an effect of incorporation into the Roman world.


  1. Candace Rice (Exeter College, Oxford)

Southern Mediterranean Port Cities as Microcosms of Connectivity

  1. Victoria Leitch (University of Oxford)

Trade in Roman North African Cookwares

  1. Sanda S. Heinz (St. Cross College, University of Oxford)

Mutual Cultural Exchange: Egyptian Artefacts in the Roman Landscape

  1. Matthew M. McCarty (Lincoln College, University of Oxford)

Soldiers and Stelae: Votive Cult and the Roman Army in North Africa

  1. Katja Schörle (Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford)

From Harbour to Desert: An Integrated Interface on the Red Sea and its Impact on the Eastern Egyptian desert

  1. Karen Heslin (Merton College,University of Oxford)

Emerging Markets: Import Replacement in Roman North Africa

  1. Andrew Wilson (University of Oxford)

Harbour to Desert, Emporium to Sanctuary: Response