B1727 - Cities, Settlements and Production in the Roman Imperial World (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Archaeology and Cultures of the Ancient World (cod. 8855)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, the students will have acquired general knowledge of the typical Roman types of settlements and productions, and the ability to critically analyse the data and information on the basis of the methodologies examined in the module.

The module will be organised thematically and focus on the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. Case studies drawn from different parts the empire will stress regional differences but also the common factors that make us talk of a 'Roman world'. Considerations of the state of the art and goals of current research will also be part of this course.  

Course contents

This module examines the types of settlements and productions that characterise the Roman world. Topics to be discusses include cities and their monumental apparatus, villages, villas and farms. Case studies drawn from different parts of the empire will highlight similarities and differences.

The module, organised thematically, will focus on the 1st to 3rd century AD. Among the topics to be covered you will find: euergetism & public monuments; urbanisation; the economy of the villa; viticulture and oleiculture; trade and amphorae use; animal husbandry and wool and textile production; fish salting; and mining.

There is no specific syllabus for those who will not attend the module.


Texts for the exam ( in addiiton to class notes and powerpoint on the topics traced in the lectures)

Additional readings (strongly recommended ) will be indicated during the module. 


Gros, P. e M. Torelli, Storia dell’urbanistica. Il mondo romano, Bari 2010 (pp. 271-470).

G. Bejor, M. T. Grassi, S. Maggi, F. Slavazzi, Arte e archeologia delle province romane, Milano 2011

The countryside

Greene, K. The Archaeology of the Roman Economy. Tiptree 1986, pp. 67-141.

Pollard, N. ‘Villas’, In A companion to Roman Italy. edited byi A. Cooley. Chichester 2016, capitolo 17.

Pujia, A. ‘Sulla produzione agricola della colonia romana di Cuicul’, Archeologia Classica, Vol. 67, 2016, pp. 645-666.

Witcher, R.E. ‘Agricultural production in Roman Italy’. In A companion to Roman Italy. Edited by A. Cooley. Chichester 2016, capitolo 23.

Witcher, R. E. ‘Broken pots and meaningless dots? Surveying the rural landscapes of Roman Italy.', Papers of the British School at Rome 74, 2006, pp. 39-72.

[Recommended but not mandatory: chapters from 21 to 24 in A Companion to Ancient Agriculture edited by T. Howe e D. Hollander. Hoboken, NJ 2020, available as e-book in AlmaRE].


G. Bejor, M.Castoldi, C. Lamburgo, E. Panero, Botteghe e artigiani. Marmorari, bronzisti, ceramisti e vetrai nell’antichità classica, Milano 2016

D. Gandolfi (ed.), La ceramica e i materiali di età romana. Classi, produzioni, commerci e consumi, Bordighera 2005 (esp. the section on amphorae).

Marzano, A. Harvesting the Sea. Oxford 2013 (chapters 3-4).


Teaching methods

1) Face to face lectures

2) Seminar-style classes with active student participation 

Assessment methods

The exam for this module is an oral exam during which the student will be asked to discuss the themes presented in class and in the texts that constitute the exam programme.

The student is expected to show sufficient knowledge of the main theme and issues investigated in the course of the module. The discussion during the oral exam will also be the opportunity to evaluate the ability of the student to orient himself / herself  within the discipline.

Ability to present an organic overview and understanding of the themes of the course, together with critical analysis, use od specific and technical language, will score excellent marks. Knowledge by rote, ability of synthesis and use of terminology not always accurate will score a sufficient mark. Lacunae in knowledge and or use of inadeguate terminology will allow to just reach a pass mark. Important lacunae in knowledge, little or no knowledge of the scholarship onto topic will result in a fail.

Teaching tools

Downloadable Powerpoints and handouts. 

Office hours

See the website of Annalisa Marzano


Quality education Sustainable cities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.