University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cambridge Conservation Seminars  > Where did plant diversity and sustainability begIn? Arboriculture in the ancient Roman world

Where did plant diversity and sustainability begIn? Arboriculture in the ancient Roman world

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Diversity and sustainability are often thought of as modern concepts, yet in the classical world, exotic plant types were valued and the Romans in particular, had a penchant for collecting various foods, especially fruits from Asia, and domesticating them. Grafting techniques were sophisticated. Further, with a population of ca. 1 million people in 2nd century Rome, provision of fuel for cooking and heating was a major concern. This presentation will consider how and why the Roman political economy enabled trade and exchange in plant materials, and how the concept of fuel ‘sustainability’ may be studied in the ancient world. As we exhaust our fossil fuels in the modern world and move back to wood, among other fuel types, ancient practices may hold some resonance.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Conservation Seminars series.

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