image/svg+xml53 X/1/2019 InterdIscIplInarIa archaeologIca natural scIences In archaeology homepage: Daily Food Consumption in a Rural Roman Villa: Excavations at Lički Ribnik, Croatia Kelly Reed a* , Ivana Ožanić Roguljić b , Siniša Radović c , Tatjana Kolak d a Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 34 Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BD, United Kingdom b Institute of Archaeology, Ljudevita Gaja 32, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia c Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zrinski trh 11, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia d Museum of Lika, Ivana Bana Karlovića 1, 53 000 Gospić, Croatia 1. Introduction The country villa occupied a privileged place in the ideology of the Roman elite, as shown by texts from Cato, Varro and Columella, who emphasised the moral superiority of farming. Landowning and agriculture were deeply rooted in Roman traditions, symbolising their ancestral past, and was considered an excellent and prestigious source of income for Roman senators (Kehoe, 1997; Rosenstein, 2008). Large volumes of work exist on Roman villas, aiming to classify and make sense of the numerous variety of villas excavated over the past two centuries ( e.g. McKay, 1998; Percival, 1976; Smith, 1997). A villa can mean diferent things at diferent times, from the house of a farm, the house and adjoining buildings within an enclosure, and the entire estate including the buildings and the land, which all range in size, architecture and function (Smith, 1997, p.11; Torrenato, 2001). The “villa system” is typically referred to as a villa with both a pars urbana , for residential purposes, and a pars rustica , which was dedicated to agricultural production (Marzano, 2007, p.125). The term ‘agriculture’ was also not limited to the cultivation of crops and animal husbandry, but to any activity connected to the land and its natural resources, including the production of bricks, pottery, lime, timber and metal (Marzano, 2015). As a result, villas are often considered to be located in areas with agricultural potential, usually near streams or rivers ( e.g. Thomas, 1980, p.285; Oltean, Hanson, 2007). The villa would have therefore had its own complex socioeconomic system, interlinked with the wider Roman economy, where agriculture played a central role.Much of the evidence to date on “villa systems” comes from onsite plans and architectural fndings, literary sources, as well as pottery and other material culture. In contrast to this large body of data, few have explored the villa Volume X ● Issue 1/2019 ● Pages 53–63 *Corresponding author. E-mail: ArtICLe InfO Article history: Received: 12 th November 2018Accepted: 6 th May 2019DOI: 10.24916/iansa.2019.1.4 Key words: Dalmatia Likaarchaeobotanyzooarchaeology Roman potteryfooddiet ABStrACt Large volumes of work exist on Roman villas; however, what the inhabitants ate on a daily basis at these sites is frequently overlooked. Here we present archaeobotanical, zooarchaeological and pottery evidence to explore aspects of daily consumption patterns within the rural villa of Lički Ribnik, Croatia. The remains date from the second half of the 2 nd to the frst half of the 3 rd century AD and provide the frst evidence of villa consumption in the Lika region. The discovery of broomcorn millet ( Panicum miliaceum ) grains, domestic cattle ( Bos taurus ) and sheep ( Ovis aries ) bones suggest that they were consumed at the site. Diferent pottery types and fabrics also suggest a range of dishes were cooked, including the Roman dish patina . Although these conclusions are based on very limited data, the study shows the importance of looking at environmental evidence in conjunction with other archaeological material in order to explore local diet and economy in the Roman period.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2019 ● X/1 ● 53–63Kelly Reed, Ivana Ožanić Roguljić, Siniša Radović, Tatjana Kolak: Daily Food Consumption in a Rural Roman Villa: Excavations at Lički Ribnik, Croatia 54 food system through the analyses of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological remains. Where examined, the evidence has contributed meaningfully to the reconstruction of Roman villa production, management and supply, the preparation and consumption of foods, as well as exploring aspects of group identity, social status and ritual/religious practices ( e.g. Crabtree, 1990; King, 2001; Šoštarić, Küster, 2001; Olive, 2004; Padrós, Valenzuela Lamas, 2010; McCallum et al. , 2013; Árpád et al. , 2015).In Dalmatia, over 200 villae rusticae have been recognised or excavated and around 350 in regio X Venetia et Histria (Matijašić, 1998). However, few have provided evidence on diet and subsistence. Published deposits of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological remains dating to the Roman period (1 st –5 th Century AD) in Croatia are still relatively rare. For example, only 12 sites have published archaeobotanical remains (see Reed, 2016 for summary; Essert et al. , 2018; Reed, Leleković, 2019; Reed et al. , 2019) and only three of these are from villa sites: the 3 rd –4 th century AD rural villa at Danilo, Dalmatia (Šoštarić, 2003), the 1 st –5 th century AD rural villa at Veli Brijun, Istria (Šoštarić, Küster, 2001), and the 2 nd –4 th century AD urban villa of Osijek-Silos (Reed et al. , 2019). Faunal data are even more underrepresented and only fve Roman period sites being published in Croatia (Alvàs-Marion, 2001; Brajković, Paunović, 2001; Campadelli, 2007; Miculinić, 2018; Šimić-Kanaet et al. , 2005; Šoštarić et al. , 2015). Of these, only two are from villa sites: the 1 st –2 nd century rural estate of Crikvenica – Igralište, Vinodol area (Miculinić, 2018) and the maritime villa, villae maritimae , of Loron, Istria (Brajković, Paunović, 2001). This paper therefore presents the frst evidence of Roman rural villa consumption in the Lika region of Dalmatia, examining the archaeobotanical, zooarchaelogical and pottery remains excavated from Lički Ribnik, Croatia. 2. The villa at Lički Ribnik Lički Ribnik is located in the meander of the river Lika, 6 km south of Gospić, in the Lika municipality (Figure 1). As a region, it can be characterized as a mountain plateau at altitudes between 450–700 m (Kokotović Kanazir et al. , 2016). The region has a humid continental climate, but experiences high diurnal ranges, especially in summer, and frost has been recorded in every month except for July, with strong blizzards in the winter. Today, grain yields of feld crops in the mountainous Lika region are considerably lower than in lowland areas of Croatia, mainly due to the poor soils and climatic limitations (Kovačević, Buzaši, 2005). In addition, the region sufers from a comparatively short growing period, due to the occurrence of late spring and early autumn frosts.Excavations began in 2012 after the discovery of tesserae from the Ribnik peninsula in the previous year. During the three-day trial excavation, architectural remains of a building were discovered along with fragments of a mosaic (Kolak,