The social life of ancient markets : using formal network approaches and ceramic data to reconceptualize market behavior in the Late Classical-Early Hellenistic (400-200 BCE) Southeast Aegean
- Markets and market exchange have been at the heart of debates about the ancient Mediterranean economy since the late 19th and early 20th century, and since this time scholars have fiercely debated the influence of social relationships on markets and economic systems. Recent scholarship in ancient history and Classical archaeology has drawn on modern economic frameworks and large archaeological datasets to quantify the ancient economy and its markets. These approaches have presented ancient economies and markets as formal but impersonal spaces, with human interactions in and around markets acknowledged as a force but seemingly impossible to quantify in the absence of comprehensive written records. In this dissertation, I develop a new method for quantitatively and systematically assessing the impact of social relationships on market outcomes, and I show how community relationships and social interactions in and around markets were powerful drivers of production and consumption patterns on a regional scale. I focus specifically on markets for wine, a core Mediterranean agricultural product and dietary staple, with transport amphoras and drinking vessels providing a durable record of wine production and consumption trends. Bridging approaches from archaeology, ancient history, sociology, and computer science, I develop computational models of markets that allow virtual potters and drinkers to compare wine production and consumption preferences with individuals in their social network. These models create hypothetical records of wine vessel choices, which can then be compared to the archaeological record of wine transport and drinking pottery, specifically wine vessels from the Late Classical and Early Hellenistic (c. 400--200 BCE) southeast Aegean. In Chapter 1, a review of previous scholarship on ancient Mediterranean markets reveals persistent difficulties and methodological limitations surrounding the assessment of social interactions in and around markets. A new approach developed in Chapter 2 combines social network analysis and agent-based computational modeling to test logical hypotheses concerning the impact of these relationships on market behavior. These models show that densely connected communities or influential individuals could push entire regions to adopt standardized wine production and drinking habits, but also that sufficiently close-knit communities could resist these broader forces and retain their own local preferences. Chapters 3--5 compare the hypothetical market models to archaeological data from the Late Classical and Early Hellenistic southeast Aegean, specifically ceramics from the Datça and Bozburun peninsulas, Rhodes, and Kos. Archaeological analyses show that during this time, producers of wine transport amphoras across the region standardized the shape of their vessels. This standardization process likely aimed to increase recognition of the region's wine on the Mediterranean export market; however, it was made possible by ceramic producers becoming better socially connected. Scale-free network models, with well-connected individuals influencing behaviors, may explain the production behavior of this region, because they provide a longer period of heterogeneity in jar style prior to arriving at one standard shape, and this pattern is also true of potters making Rhodian-style amphoras on Rhodes and Koan-style amphoras on Kos. However, potters making Knidian-style amphoras on the Datça and Bozburun peninsulas adopted a standard form more swiftly and uniformly than potters on Rhodes and Kos, and best fit more egalitarian small-world market models which provide a faster and smoother path to one pot form. When it came to consuming wine, analyses in Chapters 3--5 show that communities appear to have valued choice over homogeneity, with a selection of drinking bowls and cups popular at individual sites and across the entire southeast Aegean. This drinking vessel heterogeneity may be the result of scale-free market models, but only those with high "community bonuses, " which incentivize actors to compare their production and consumption preferences with members of their own community. While wine drinkers may have been interested in connecting with influential individuals across the network, they were also still motivated to compare drinking practices within their closest relationships. This dissertation presents a new and quantifiable picture of how social networks among communities of wine producers and consumers may have shaped economic trends in the southeast Aegean during the Late Classical and Early Hellenistic period. At the start of this period, increased traffic between the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean fundamentally altered the socioeconomic landscape of the southeast Aegean, and I demonstrate how evolving yet strong community networks within this landscape may have been the key to the region's success as a viticultural powerhouse. Bridging the gap between site-specific archaeological analyses and pan-Mediterranean economic models, my dissertation provides a new middle ground, a way to quantify and systematically assess how everyday choices by wine producers and consumers could build to something larger, a force that could guide regional economic trends in the ancient Mediterranean world. .
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Wilker, Sarah Toby
|Morris, Ian, 1960-
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Morris, Ian, 1960-
|Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences
|Stanford University, Department of Classics
|Statement of responsibility
|Sarah Toby Wilker.
|Submitted to the Department of Classics.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.
- © 2023 by Sarah Toby Wilker
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