The results of an archaeological dig carried out in 2008 on two Libyan coastal sites, Al Hamamah and El Ogla, together with equally precious literary testimony (Pseudo-Scylax, Strabo, Ptolemy, Stadiasmus Maris Magni, Itinerarium Antonini, Tabula Peutingeriana, Synesius of Cyrene), enable to identify the modern El Ogla with the ancient Ausigda and they document the particular vivacity, rather than the decline, of the Cyrenaican coastal settlements in Late Antiquity and lead us to believe that the transformation products of the catch (fish sauce and salted fish, but also highly valued purple cloth), especially of tunny fishing, were not only destined for local consumption and use but were important either for trade and commerce with other Mediterranean areas – and were therefore vital for the regional economy – or for enrichment opportunities and social mobility of local middle class, like in the case of Andronikos who, from simple thynnoskopos (“assigned to sighting the tunnies”), became praeses Lybiae Superioris in 411 A.D. These reflections on the productive activities of Cyrenaican coastal sites have confirmed from particular curvilinear shape of El Ogla’s bay. The site in fact lies on an eminence above a sheltered cove, protected from the north-east by a low promontory and from the north-west by a second short promontory and an island; on the beach there are two circular vats and remains of some harbour infrastructures. These vats, considered “storage tanks” from Jones and Little, very probably should be regarded as basins for the preparation of fish sauce and salted fish (garum and salsamenta), both products highly valued during Roman Imperial period. From Hellenism to Late Antiquity along North African and particulary Lybian coasts was surely practised the catch of crustaceans, mollusks and a great variety of fishes (Plautus, Athenaeus, Synesius), among which the valuable tunny. The testimonies on the piscatio thynnaria (from a passage of the jurist Ulpian on a fundus maritimus in Byzacena) and on the particular strategy to capture the tunnies – which didn’t use the modern “death room” in the open sea but achieved the tunny-massacre directly on the beach (Oppianus Anazarbensis and Aelianus) and the processing of haul into “enormous recipients” (ingentes lacus, as writes Manilius) – confirm either the natural “predisposition” of El Ogla’s concave bay to the encirclement of the tunnies with fishing nets, or the use of the vats on the beach for fish-salting and garum production, circular structures very similar to others of third century A.D. found at Berenike, Taucheira, Ptolemais and Apollonia.

Siti costieri ed attività produttive nella Cirenaica tardoantica

ARENA, Gaetano Maria
2011

Abstract

The results of an archaeological dig carried out in 2008 on two Libyan coastal sites, Al Hamamah and El Ogla, together with equally precious literary testimony (Pseudo-Scylax, Strabo, Ptolemy, Stadiasmus Maris Magni, Itinerarium Antonini, Tabula Peutingeriana, Synesius of Cyrene), enable to identify the modern El Ogla with the ancient Ausigda and they document the particular vivacity, rather than the decline, of the Cyrenaican coastal settlements in Late Antiquity and lead us to believe that the transformation products of the catch (fish sauce and salted fish, but also highly valued purple cloth), especially of tunny fishing, were not only destined for local consumption and use but were important either for trade and commerce with other Mediterranean areas – and were therefore vital for the regional economy – or for enrichment opportunities and social mobility of local middle class, like in the case of Andronikos who, from simple thynnoskopos (“assigned to sighting the tunnies”), became praeses Lybiae Superioris in 411 A.D. These reflections on the productive activities of Cyrenaican coastal sites have confirmed from particular curvilinear shape of El Ogla’s bay. The site in fact lies on an eminence above a sheltered cove, protected from the north-east by a low promontory and from the north-west by a second short promontory and an island; on the beach there are two circular vats and remains of some harbour infrastructures. These vats, considered “storage tanks” from Jones and Little, very probably should be regarded as basins for the preparation of fish sauce and salted fish (garum and salsamenta), both products highly valued during Roman Imperial period. From Hellenism to Late Antiquity along North African and particulary Lybian coasts was surely practised the catch of crustaceans, mollusks and a great variety of fishes (Plautus, Athenaeus, Synesius), among which the valuable tunny. The testimonies on the piscatio thynnaria (from a passage of the jurist Ulpian on a fundus maritimus in Byzacena) and on the particular strategy to capture the tunnies – which didn’t use the modern “death room” in the open sea but achieved the tunny-massacre directly on the beach (Oppianus Anazarbensis and Aelianus) and the processing of haul into “enormous recipients” (ingentes lacus, as writes Manilius) – confirm either the natural “predisposition” of El Ogla’s concave bay to the encirclement of the tunnies with fishing nets, or the use of the vats on the beach for fish-salting and garum production, circular structures very similar to others of third century A.D. found at Berenike, Taucheira, Ptolemais and Apollonia.
Cirenaica; Impero romano; Città; Economia; Pesca; Società
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/9579
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