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These statistics include plants which have both a description and an illustration; out of these, 27 per cent are good or excellent in that I can identify the plant from the text and illustration combined , 42 per cent intermediate, and 28 per cent useless i. Even so well-known a drug plant as diktamnon which to modern eyes is unmistakeable:.

Not the least of the difficulties under which the ancient doctor laboured was that of not knowing for certain what it was that he was prescribing for his patients. Plant identification had to wait until the medieval invention of woodblock printing made it possible to produce exact copies of illustrations. Without accurate identification—or rather, without means of putting identifications on record and conveying them from the originator to another botanist in a different country or at a later date—I doubt if there could have been much ecological investigation.

The Romans and Hebrews As far as written evidence goes, the Greeks were less ecologically minded than other ancients. Roman writings, though much less copious, contain rather more ecology. For example, Columella writes about coppice-woods and deer parks De re rustica, 9. See also Bender This is not just because biblical writers had more sympathy with sheep, goats, and shepherds than most Greeks and Romans.

They were second-class citizens, maybe, and some of them disagreeable; but they were citizens none the less. Indeed, the environment itself could be personified or animalified as a set of independent beings:. Praise the Lord upon earth: ye dragons,1 and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and vapours: wind and storm, fulfilling his word; Mountains and all hills: fruitful trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle: worms and feathered fowls; Kings of the earth and all people: princes and all judges of the world… Psalm — Considering that it is much smaller in bulk than Greek and Roman literature, and that none of it expressly sets out to do so, the Bible tells us a remarkable amount about plants and animals.

They are not except sometimes in the Song of Songs mere decorative names, like the pretty names of plants which embellish the verses of Theokritos and Sappho. The writers knew something about them, where they lived and how they behaved. The Hebrews were not interested merely in useful creatures, but had a sense of wonder and delight in the extraordinary, remote and dangerous. The book of Job has accounts of the ostrich, wild ass, and crocodile.

Each has a personality that is understood by the author: Who hath sent out the wild ass free: or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass: Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the salt places his dwellings. He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing. Job —8. Feral donkeys still do just this in the jagged, spray-soaked mountains of the north-western prong of Crete. Isaiah And a certain man saw it, and went and told Joab, and said, Behold I saw Absalom hanged in an oak….

And Joab took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. II Samuel — A similar accident could happen to anyone hurrying through the mountain savannas of East Crete today. The widely set prickly oak trees have dense, tangled crowns on short boles, rather like the oaks in an English park fig. Generations of browsing animals have eaten away all the foliage within reach, leaving a clear space above the ground which tends to be not quite as high as it looks, tempting the passer-by to take unwise short cuts.

An understanding of nature extends into the Gospels and a little way into early Christian literature. The most extensive account of the vegetation of any part of ancient Greece is in the early Christian book called the Shepherd of Hermas. His vision is built around the twelve contrasted mountains of Arkadia and the trees, plants, and animals growing and living on each of them. The literary Arcadia is a Renaissance invention.

Conclusions The Greek landscape is quite robust. As our grandfathers knew it, it was at least 3, years old. It was very different from aboriginal Greece, but the big changes took place long before there were writers to put them on record. Some of those changes, such as the extermination of the Cretan mammals, may have been anthropogenic, but there were climatic changes as well. The classical Greeks appear to have lived well within the limitations of their environment.


The landscape was not rapidly changing, nor were there technical innovations having unforeseen consequences; there was no particular need for the Greeks to be explicitly ecologically minded. They apparently had less of an attitude to ecology than the Romans, though this appearance could be an accident of survival of the documents. It is much more likely that the ancient Hebrews were more appreciative of nature than either Greeks or Romans. At certain periods in its history, such as the nineteenth century, Greece was being overworked by over-population. Virtually every scrap of possible land, and much that would seem impossible, was being cultivated; terraces extended on to all but the steepest slopes cf.

Foxhall, this volume , and far into the mountains on any slope. In most places virtually every tree that was not a fruit-tree, even trees on cliffs, was felled every ten years or so. But as the last hundred years show, the landscape has resilience from such treatment. Terraces have decayed back to the former slope and have reverted to pasture-land or woodland; felled trees have sprouted and grown up again; palatable plants are beginning to come down from their cliff refugia.

Only the fens, still arable land, have not recovered. Such processes may well have occurred in the past whenever, for one reason or another, a high human population declined. In antiquity it was not easy, in most of Greece, to do permanent damage to the landscape. The critical step in the degradation of the Greek environment was the invention of the bulldozer.

Baumann, H. Stearn and E. Steam London. Bender, H. Evans, A. Frazer, J. Frenzel, B. Gerola, G. Grove, J. Gunther, R. Goodyer AD Oxford. Habicht, C. Hughes, J. Lewis, C. McNeill, J. Perlin, J. Rackham, O. Murray and S. Wells ed. Rubner, H. Sonnini, C. Thirgood, J. Wertime, T. Zangger, E. Introduction Terrace systems are one of the most characteristic features of the modern landscape of southern Greece. The question of whether this seductive lattice-work of dry-stone walls can be projected back into antiquity has intrigued scholars for some time, and in recent years discussion has become particularly lively.

The ancient systems of cultivation in Greece and Italy for which we have a reasonable amount of information largely used other means of keeping soil on hillsides. For farming, as for most other aspects of Greek and Roman life, our sources emerge from the wealthiest sector of society. It is virtually impossible to ascertain securely how peasants attempted to solve the problems of soil movement and erosion, even if we can sometimes make plausible guesses.

This is not to say that terracing was not practised in antiquity; on the contrary, I am sure it was. Bradford ; Lohmann , —73; — and passim; Lohmann , 51—6; Rackham and Moody ; Isager and Skydsgaard , 81—2; cf. Leveau I remain unconvinced by any claimed finds of agricultural terraces dating back to classical antiquity or beyond. I shall begin by outlining the techniques of farming on slopes documented from antiquity. I shall confine the discussion to Greek material as much as possible, but occasional forays into the Roman agricultural writers will be necessary.

I shall then describe the process of constructing terraces1 and compare the process and labour requirements of trenching for a vineyard or other croptrees. Finally, I shall examine some of the archaeological examples of what have recently been claimed as ancient agricultural terraces and field systems, suggesting that these are of dubious antiquity: indeed, none can be proven to date to any particular period. Terraces: the ancient references and non-references There is extraordinarily little evidence for the use of agricultural terracing in classical antiquity.

This does not, of course, mean that it did not exist. Rather, it suggests that for the various reasons to be discussed below terracing was not much used by the farmers at the wealthy end of the socio-economic scale to whom most of the ancient evidence refers. This is not a peasant farmer making his own terraces for cereal cultivation, but a larger project in agricultural development organized by someone who is wealthy. Frequently it is impossible to determine from the context whether an agricultural terrace or some other kind of wall is meant.

A more explicit literary example of this problem comes in a speech by Demosthenes, in which it might be expected that terrace walls would be mentioned:3 1. Jameson —8, n.

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Rackham and Moody ; Rackham this volume , p. The water which falls on the road, as long as the way is clear, is carried on down the road. But should there be something in the way, then it is forced to rise up onto the fields. However, this field was neglected when my father did not own it; but when it belonged to a person who loathed the area and preferred town life, two or three times water made its way on, and both damaged the fields and increasingly was making itself a path.

For this reason, when my father saw what was happening as I hear from those knowing the circumstances , and because at the same time the neighbours were grazing their animals on the field and traipsing through it, my father built this wall around it. Absolutely no one! And again, who would bury his forefathers there? Nobody, I think.

For the trees were planted earlier than my father built the wall around, and the tomb memorials are old and were there from before we possessed the field. Isager and Skydsgaard , , which for most of its course coincided with a road. The speaker claims that in the past the field had been neglected. Though the speaker tries to 1. There were old grave memorials on the land as well.

And then he threw the rubbish out into the road, as a result of which the road came to be made higher as well as narrower. The description of run-off on the fields, the regular problems with flooding, the presence of tombs, and the fact that there is no mention of a system of terrace walls all suggest that on these plots tree cultivation was carried on without terracing. However, none of these criteria is definitive, and we cannot be sure there were no terraces here either.

An epigraphic example containing similar problems of ambiguity can be found in the well-known lease from Arkesine on Amorgos, which is full of references to walls which may or may not be terraces. If he fails to pay there shall be exacted from the lessee and his sureties a fine equivalent to half the rent. He is to cultivate half the land each year, 5 and not all the land in a single year. Most of the inscription is translated by Osborne , 37, whose translation I largely reproduce here, with some amendments; sections where my translation differs are italicized.

Numbers in parentheses indicate approximate line divisions. If he fails to do this 8 according to the contract he must pay a fine of an obol for each vine or fig-tree round which he fails to dig, and three drachmas for each zygon3 9. The sureties are to secure the payment for all additional work 10 that is required of the lessee, if someone wants to hold the lease.

If not, the magistrates are to put it out to tender. He is to build up again all walls that collapse, 11 on pain of a fine of a drachma for each fathom of collapsed wall. He is to apply loads of dung a year 13 with a basket holding one medimnos and four hemihektea,5 14 or pay a fine of half a drachma for each basket shortfall.

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He must swear 15 to the temple magistrates that he has indeed applied this manure in accordance with the agreement. He must keep 16 the roofs watertight, and hand them over 17 in this condition. The vine prunings the temple magistrates 18 will sell. The lessee will dig trenches 19 in the month Eiraphorion6 20 where the magistrate will mark them out, four-foot ones and three-foot ones, and will put in the plants in the presence of the temple magistrates, planting each year twenty vines 21 at the spacing ordered by the magistrates, and ten fig-trees; and he must build a wall on the upper part of the land.

For failure to do this the fine shall be one drachma per plant… SIG3 Lines 10—11 specify that the leaseholder must rebuild all walls that have fallen down, and a penalty of one drachma per fathom orguia of wall is charged for all walls not rebuilt. These could be boundary walls, or terrace walls, or both.

Though agricultural terrace walls may well be included here, it is impossible to be certain from the context. Lines 11—12 refer to an operation to be performed on the walls along the road: phraxei. The reason why this was done on the probably free-standing walls bordering the road was presumably to keep out athletic two- and four-legged intruders, to whom low dry-stone walls would prove to be no barrier. Because the materials are perishable and the barriers impermanent, they would need regular renewing, hence the provision that the walls be left fenced when the leaseholder gives up the lease this also, of course, prohibits the leaseholder from taking the fencing material with him.

This is interesting in terms of ancient security, but it is not a terrace wall. The final reference to walls comes in the section where provi— sions for new plantings of vines and figs are specified lines 19— The correct interpretation of this passage is not at all clear.

Comparative recommendations from other ancient sources suggest that one, if not both, of these dimensions refers to the depth to which the planting-trenches 1. The wall was obviously considered important because the pithoi were to be held as security against the wall being built. But is this wall-building an annual event?


The passage suggests that the temple magistrates were trying to develop an area of uncultivated hillside with plantings of figs and vines, by getting their lessees to cultivate another section every year this is why they specify where plantings should be, and that they are to be inspected so carefully. It could be that the area was gradually being terraced, and that a new retaining wall was built annually.

Normally when terraces are made the wall is built at the lower end of the terrace under construction see below.

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But in either case, If the arrangements prescribed in the lease were carried out as planned for any length of time, a lot of earth was moved around in the development of this land for arboriculture. These are all the references to terracing in classical Greek sources of which I am aware. It is striking how few there are, even in circumstances where they might be expected. Theophrastos does discuss measures for cultivating stony ground Causes of Plants, 3. The Roman agricultural writers are equally silent on the subject of terraces.

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Columella implies that he knows about terracing, and that although the fiddly, time-consuming business of constructing terrace walls was an expensive and inefficient use of slave labour, other means of disposing of stones might be even more expensive: It is easy to prepare a stony field by gathering up the stones. If there is a great abundance of them, either parts of the field are taken up with 1. Lin Foxhall supporting terrace walls that the rest may be thoroughly cleared, or the stones are buried to some depth in a sunken trench, which should be done if the cheapness of the labour recommends it.

Substructio elsewhere means a supporting embankment or foundation wall. Columella also seems to feel that terracing wastes space, which was probably true for the agrarian regimes he favoured since terracing a hillside leaves less area available for tree-planting than does planting directly on the un-terraced slope. I think it more likely refers to protecting crops from livestock, but perhaps sustinendos could refer to holding soil in place. This is not a very enlightening reference. Building a terrace So why and how are terraces built, and what alternatives might have been used in antiquity?

The main aims of terracing are: 1 to do something with the big rocks in the soil similar to Columella, quoted above , and 2 to slow down run-off, which means a that water stays in the same place longer, and thus penetrates to deeper levels where it will benefit both trees and to a lesser extent arable crops and is less likely to be lost through evaporation, and b that soil erosion is reduced.

In the modern period agricultural terraces have been constructed for growing both trees and arable crops, often simultaneously. Normally the work is done in the summer, the agricultural slack season in the present and past peasant farming regime. Although the soil is dry and hard at this time of year, it is lighter in weight. A line of rocks is placed along the hillside at what will be the front of the finished terrace, normally following the contour of the hill.

The earth is then dug out behind, and ramped up behind, the line of stones. Obviously any unwanted trees and bushes are also removed, and sizeable ones may be made into charcoal as the work goes along thus slowing down the work of terrace-building, but producing charcoal for cash sale.

When the ramp has reached the top of the first line of stones, another course is added on top of the first course and the digging and ramp-building operations continue further back into the hill, creating an increasingly greater area of level space behind the growing terrace wall. The process continues until the desired or maximum feasible width is reached. At this point a line of stones is laid out for a new terrace wall, behind and above the first one, and the whole process is repeated. If these newly made terraces were to be used for cereals or other annual crops, they would produce returns relatively quickly, within one or two years.

But if they were planted in trees or vines it would be several years, at best, before even a small return was realized. Trenching: the alternative to terracing This last point, I believe, provides a key to answering the question why alternative techniques seem to have been used for planting on. The farming techniques most clearly documented in our sources are those used by wealthier households. These households owned the most land, and perhaps often the best-quality land.

But they almost certainly grew the major proportion of these cereals on some of their better lands: generally in the valley bottoms or on gentle slopes, not on the steeper slopes. When such households acquired land on relatively steep slopes, the evidence suggests they did not usually develop it for arable cultivation. This may have been a temporary expedient until the proprietor got round to developing it further. Forbes, this volume, ch. Or land that was not too steeply sloping could have been cultivated without terracing, with appropriate drainage provisions for run-off Theophr.

A considerable amount of the modern Greek landscape is in fact farmed in this way. When areas of steep sloping land were developed by large landowners it was most often for arboriculture. Generally the intercropping of cereals and arable was not practised on these estates though this is not to say it was not done by small-scale farmers. If the land was of good enough quality with a good enough depth of moisture-retentive soil and well-watered, tree species might be intercropped with each other.

I have elsewhere estimated Foxhall that in classical Attica about 9 per cent of the citizen body owned nearly half of the cultivable land. Greek landscape, intended for cereal cultivation. The main purpose of cultivating the land on which any tree crop is growing is to ensure that the plants receive adequate water and soil nutrients, in part by killing weed growth.

The primary limiting variable for tree growth under Mediterranean Greek conditions is normally the availability of water. Hence the primary aim of the cultivation practices used by wealthy farmers who could afford the requisite inputs of labour was to maximize the amount of water mostly from winter rainfall available to the roots of the trees. To the same end, repeated digging destroyed roots close to the surface, encouraging the development of roots at lower levels where more moisture was available and where they were less likely to suffer from sun-scorch or exposure; this allowed trees to utilize available water more efficiently Theophr.

This was particularly important for olives, which mostly have widespreading roots close to the surface Theophr. Basically this means a great deal of digging Theophr.

It is clear that digging was the most laborious and timeconsuming part of tree cultivation for olives, figs, and especially vines. Trees were planted in basins or trenches, which served to catch and hold water close to the base of the tree where it would be available to the roots. Considerable digging preparatory to planting 1. As may be the case in Dem. Pansiot and Rebour , —8.

Unless some kind of anti-erosion measures are taken, considerable amounts of soil may well end up at the bottom of the hill. The extent to which the technique of trenching to retain winter rainfall in the soil was specifically. Theophrastos suggests that in dry areas it is advisable to dig as deeply as possible Caus. Repeated digging also reduces the weed growth, which would otherwise compete with trees or vines for moisture and soil nutrients cf.

How many times trees were dug depended on the micro-environmental conditions of the plot on which they were growing, the importance of the crop to the owner, and most importantly the amount of labour available. The outline of digging times which I present here, synthesized from the ancient sources, probably represents a maximum labour input.

Soil was loosened and banked around the outer edges of the trench, to hold water around the base and to allow the winter rains to penetrate to the roots. This also, of course, had the effect of slowing down run-off, and thus reducing erosion, as well as keeping run-off water in the places where it would benefit the crop most.

While it was still the rainy period, this further increased the moisture available to the roots and also allowed the sun to warm the soil by increasing the surface area exposed to the sun , thus bringing on budding more rapidly cf. Manure or other organic fertilizer was dug into the soil during either the autumn or the spring digging, while there was still sufficient rainfall for the tree to make use of it ibid.

This strengthens the suggestion that the technique was normal in the Mediterranean regions of Greece. The loose top layer of soil rapidly became completely desiccated by the hot sun. Because soil particles were separated by air pockets, this layer acted as a dust mulch, preventing evaporation of water via capillary action from the damp soil levels below. It is clear from Theophrastos and other sources see Foxhall b that the trenches around trees were only one component in the soil-management systems practised by wealthy farmers.

If there were large stones about that had been removed from the soil during cultivation, these could profitably be placed at the bottoms of ditches, or even occasionally used in the construction of soakaways Theophr. The labour requirements of establishing a vineyard or orchard to be worked by a similar system of trenching on hillslopes in Italy are discussed at length by Columella.

This comes from a completely different economic and ecological context and cannot be transplanted directly to classical Greece; none the less it provides a useful comparison for comprehending the large scale of the labour investment entailed in undertaking such a project. From the wording of his instructions for making vineyards it is clear that Columella had in mind the large-scale development of. For the modern use of dust mulching see Forbes , — To trench a hill or sloping ground to a depth of 2 Roman feet 0.

Trenching for a nursery took even longer perhaps partly explaining the classical Greek reluctance to go in for the nursery rearing of trees. Columella On Trees, 4. This figure is for land without rocks and other obstructions: on rocky ground the operation took longer. Elsewhere RR 3. The added depth needed, and the difficulty of working on hillsides, would have significantly increased the amount of labour necessary.

It is extremely likely that for such special operations the normal slave staff of even a large and well-manned villa estate would not have been sufficient, and that additional labour of some kind would have been brought in. All of the aims of terracing listed above, except the first—finding something to do with the rocks—are fulfilled by continual and intensive digging and trenching on all but very steep slopes cf.

Pansiot and Rebour , 99, —8. Hence, in many areas under the tree-cultivation regime of trenches and ditches, which was apparently commonly used by large landowners in classical antiquity, there was generally no need for large-scale terrace systems. Given the substantial proportion of the land in the hands of large landowners Foxhall , it is likely that this at least partially explains the rarity of terrace walls, in either the archaeological or the documentary record, that can be securely dated to classical antiquity.

In classical Greek economies this was most obviously and effectively provided by slaves. Indeed, the development of sloping land for arboriculture, based on a trenching and ditching system, was probably advantageous for wealthy households aiming more at the generation of income rather than subsistence. These intensive arboricultural regimes were relevant to households where, although they were farming to supply their own food needs, subsistence could be taken for granted and was not the main consideration. Hence the intercropping of annuals was also not a priority in these regimes, allowing the constant digging which obviated the need for terrace construction.

Wealthier farmers using slave labour to develop sloping land probably most often planted it with trees or vines, using a system of trenches and ditches which demanded more constant maintenance than terraces. These trenching systems probably ensured high returns and fully-occupied slaves, but would have demanded too much labour for small-scale farmers.

More importantly, for small-scale farmers, the level ground provided by terraces allowed the 1. It is interesting that Greek and Roman writers on agrarian matters are less concerned with labour crises and bottlenecks than with keeping the farm workers constantly occupied. To some extent this may be part of the moral agenda of these works, though it may be partly the socio-political setting of slave labour.

Though there is some concern with the efficient use of labour, it seems to have been more important to keep slaves busy than to use them efficiently. Constant digging may not have enhanced productivity a great deal, beyond a certain point. But returns from the trees will not have been as great or perhaps of such high quality as from tree crops planted on their own. The archaeological evidence? Isager and Skydsgaard , 81 , the areas photographed were not subjected at the time and have not been since to intensive archaeological survey, so there is no way of eliminating the possibility that they date to some period other than the classical.

We also have a much better understanding of the human, climatic, ecological, and geomorphological processes involved in the creation and deterioration of landscapes than scholars working in the s and s. As usual, none of the masonry styles is diagnostic, judging from the published photographs, and at least one terrace identified as ancient seems to have been rebuilt, perhaps more than once, in relatively modern times. Though it incorporates some apparently ancient cut blocks, other stones include large unworked boulders and some small, roughly worked blocks which do not look ancient Bradford , pl.

His plate 10b could be an eroded terrace of any date. Doukellis is now attempting to trace ancient terracing and land measurement systems in modern field boundaries. Although his results are interesting Doukellis , there is no secure means of pinpointing the date. The argument that the landscape was unused or uninhabited in later times is unviable, and in fact there are other colonizing powers to whom such cadastration may be attributable, notably the Venetians.

Neither of these studies is very convincing, since there is no definitive means of dating to within a millennium or so the past landscapes discovered by such remote sensing methods. Unfortunately this appears to be true of all Greek terrace systems. The only ones on Methana that we can precisely date are those built by inhabitants to whom we have spoken, or whose parents or grandparents built them.

This, in fact, amounts to quite a few terraces and terrace systems. It is clear from the recent history of Methana, as preserved in the documentary record, that the peninsula was largely uninhabited and uncultivated in By the s the population had risen dramatically because of changing political circumstances in the region.

Much of the terracing, including some abandoned terrace systems, demonstrably dates from the later nineteenth century Forbes ; Forbes et al. The Greek landscape has been constantly inhabited and reinhabited since antiquity. At present there is no reliable means of dating agricultural terraces by the presence or absence of artefactual material, though there may be some future possibility with the development of geomorphological and geochemical methodologies such as soil magnetism studies.

What is clear is that such inter-site highly localized. The very processes of constant cultivation and terrace construction and reconstruction, as described above, could result in the occasional sherd of early date appearing in the topsoil levels supported by terrace walls but not in the clay subsoil levels beneath them, as James found. I am not convinced by either, though I have seen both. Lohmann claims that the now abandoned terrace system he has located in southern Attica was for the cultivation of olives as a cash crop, on the grounds that only classical material was found in the area and that the region would only be suitable for growing olives Lohmann , 81—4; , 42—56; , — In fact, there seems to be very little sherd material of any period in the area, though diagnostic sherds cover all the periods for which diagnostic pottery most often survives in survey contexts all over Greece: notably classical, late Roman, and medieval Lohmann , ii, LE16— There is no classical pressing equipment at all represented in the published survey Foxhall b.

The amount of surviving pressing equipment, even of late Roman date, is very low in contrast to, for example, Methana, where it is clear that olives really were grown for the market at that time Foxhall a. Lohmann claims that the terraces he found are aligned to the classical farm buildings. However, it is clear from his own drawings and models that in fact several of the terraces incorporate sections of ancient walling, suggesting that whatever the date of the terraces, they postdate the structures.

See e. Lohmann , 53, fig. Terraces demand moderately low maintenance compared to other cultivation systems on slopes, but they are still not maintenancefree. If they are abandoned, walls fall down and vegetative regrowth takes place, even in remarkably inhospitable-looking areas. The walls themselves are in moderately good condition, which would not be expectable if they are 2, or more years old. Indeed, many of the exposed faces of the limestone boulders used in the construction of these terraces are still quite angular. If they were truly ancient, more weathered surfaces might be expected E.

Zangger, pers. And given the arguments presented above, there is every reason to think they were not made in classical antiquity for the cultivation of olives. Similar arguments can be brought forward to counter the claims of the antiquity of the Berbati-Limnes terraces. These are alleged to be bronze age terraces, again because of the artefact finds though there is a considerable amount of modern sherd material in the area and because they are constructed of particularly large rocks.

At present these are cultivated with luxuriant olive trees. Again, although a bronze age date cannot be eliminated, neither can it be vigorously sustained on present evidence. The size of the rocks is not conclusive for dating: farmers make terraces using the rocks at hand, and if there were large rocks on the plot they would have been used in any period. Since earth is heaped up behind the terrace walls in the process of construction, it is not difficult to roll big rocks up the ramp to the upper courses.

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Terraces can, of course, be rebuilt, and once a our experience, terraces in the vicinity of ancient structures frequently include ancient cut blocks, but this does not certify them as ancient agricultural terraces. Once it goes out of use, though, depending on the local environment, all traces of it may disappear within a century or less.

It is a very hopeful archaeologist who claims continuous occupation of a field system for 3, or more years, though stranger things have happened. All the archaeological evidence so far cited has proven to be negative. Remarkably often it appears that the period that most interests the archaeologists on a particular project coincides with the dating assigned to the terraces they find. But there is one positive analysis. The only systematic study so far that has attempted to correlate the occupation of rural sites with angle of slope Whitelaw forthcoming in fact suggests that ancient farmers preferred to avoid slopes that needed extensive terracing.

Conclusions Systems of cultivation in the classical past of Greece were often though not always remarkably different from those in use today. There are many ways to skin that particular cat, and probably most of them have been tried over the last 8, years of cultivation of Mediterranean environments. In particular, the Greek landscape has been constantly re-sculpted between the fifth century BC and the present. It is unrealistic to expect that the present system of land management can be projected back infinitely into the past on a substantial scale. In classical antiquity, systems of trenched trees grown on even quite steep slopes without terracing seem to have been widespread.

One hesitates to make too much of a Homeric reference, but the one mention of terracing in the Odyssey may suggest that such agrarian development strategies were used by wealthy farmers from very early times. This must cast much doubt on the extent to which movement on to sloping lands can be considered to be a measure of desperation, or. It would seem more likely that, at least when done by the rich, such schemes of land development made use of available surplus labour for generating income. Treetrenching was probably not such a useful technique for smallscale subsistence farmers, who probably did indeed use agricultural terraces on any steep bits of the landscape they cultivated.

The implications for gully and sheet erosion of the abandonment of the tree-trenching systems widely in use in antiquity are also important. None the less the scale of erosion may have been considerable in some situations when a trenched vineyard was deserted. Untended vines would die within a few years in many locations, and there would be little else, not even walls, to hold soil on the hillsides.

Vineyards would perhaps be more problematic in this regard than land with other crop trees, which will survive even if neglected. Agricultural systems and cultivation techniques exist in conjunction with human social systems. The examples of alternative forms of soil retention and cultivation on slopes in Greece show the extent to which techniques were chosen because they answered economic and social needs rather than environmental or ecological ones. There are many means by which the Greek landscape can be encouraged to bear fruit. Which ones were chosen in antiquity depended on the aims of the farmer e.

Nature and culture must walk hand in hand. Appendix: Demosthenes, Bibliography Alcock, S. Morris ed. Bradford, J. Doukellis, P. Doukellis and L. Dimen and E. Isager, S. James, P. Jameson, M. Leveau, P. Lohmann, H. Murray, A. Pansiot, F. Wells, B. Whitelaw, T. Mendoni, P. Doukellis, and A. Wood, E. Who lives by fishing and hunting must wear torn clothes.

Pennsylvania German saying. An introduction by way of contradictions In any consideration of the wilderness in Greece today and in the recent past, a major feature is the apparent contradictions which one constantly finds in many aspects of its exploitation. This was epitomized by a continual background feature during my earliest fieldwork in Greece.

I would like to thank John Salmon and Graham Shipley for inviting me to present an earlier version of this contribution as a paper in the seminar series. Likewise I wish to thank Graham Shipley for his helpful suggestions and editorial expertise. I also acknowledge my debt to A. Lin Foxhall, as usual, has helped to steer me through the pitfalls of a territory in which I am at best only an honorary citizen. Any infelicities in this contribution, however, are entirely my responsibility.

In this simple radio vignette, lasting just ten to fifteen seconds, were intertwined several different strands of the complex, overlapping meanings and uses that are derived from the uncultivated, supposedly unproductive, wild places of the Greek landscape. The goats represent, at one level, an important economic resource; but are also, in the local ideology, a threat to agriculture. And the work of tending them all day in empty wild places, far from human fellowship, has traditionally been considered an especially low-status occupation.

Yet at the same time this solitary existence was here being taken to represent the well-springs of Greek ethnicity itself, untrammelled by the corruption of the city, which in other guises represents civilization and sociability. The uncultivated landscape of traditional and modern Greece presents a series of contradictions which makes it almost impossible to encompass. It has been the home of Christian hermits, of nineteenth-century revolutionary heroes and rapacious brigands, and of World War II partisans over whose historical status Greeks are still bitterly divided. It is an apparently unproductive wasteland, whose existence is nevertheless essential to the working of rural economies; a place where those who work in it have very low status, but the urban hunter can show off his high status to advantage; a place where free access may be afforded to all, yet where no-go areas may be jealously guarded against all comers.

Behind all the contradictions, however, it is very clear that uncultivated land is not at all unproductive land. They provided grazing, food, fuel, stocks for fruit trees, and so on see, for example, Darby , —89; Bloch , 6— 8, 17—20 , in much the same way as the uncultivated landscape still does in modern Greece cf. Rackham , One thing I will not be attempting is to paint a detailed picture of what the wilderness or waste of ancient Greece looked like. Even those who have travelled only a little in Greece will probably have been struck by the variety of non-cultivated habitats that can be seen from the road, or from ancient sites.

These differ, too, between different parts of Greece see, for instance, the comparisons of Crete with Boiotia contained in Rackham Rather, there is a wide range of plant communities. These are the result of an interplay between the tolerances of particular plant species and a variety of environmental factors, particularly soils, climate, and above all human interference. Thus areas supporting forests can be reduced to low-growing scrub communities by heavy woodcutting and grazing, while abandoned fields may support a changing sequence of plant communities leading to genuine forests if humans and their animals do not intervene.

Rackham , —, is essential reading on this subject. It is readily apparent that some parts of ancient Greece were very different from others. Not only did they have very different ecologies, but also very different human population densities. The kinds of plant communities typical of Attica in antiquity will have been very different from those in, say, Arkadia. Furthermore, given the changes that occurred in Greece within the time-span from the archaic period to early Byzantine times, it is perhaps prudent to assume, unless it is documented to the contrary, that no particular part of the landscape of Greece had exactly the same plant community, or the same pressures of human exploitation, throughout antiquity.

In recent discussions of the ancient Greek landscape the subject of this contribution has, as far as I know, received very little. The reason for this silence is not far to seek: our ancient sources are largely silent on the subject, and where they speak their utterances are mostly sibylline. It is especially for this reason that I have chosen to tackle this problem primarily from a point of view other than that of the ancient sources.

As an academic whose expertise is based in the world of the modern Greek countryside and its recent history, I shall concentrate on the modern end of my title. Although I will present some thoughts on the use of the uncultivated landscape in antiquity, my main aim is to suggest to scholars of the ancient world ways in which the waste places of ancient Greece might be studied. I hope primarily to stimulate, if not infuriate, readers better versed in understanding the ancient world than I am into bringing their own thoughts to bear on this topic.

At this juncture I will simply note Hesiod, who, in describing the fundamental benefits of a just society Works and Days, —37 , gives as much weight to the productivity of the hillsides ourea as to that of cultivated land gaia and of humans. Although they are an unrepresentative sample, these data have the benefit of being placeable within a context of extant, functioning social and economic systems. It will be readily apparent that the same cannot be said of the ancient sources, which too often represent gobbets of information divorced from the wider contexts in which they were originally located.

Obvious exceptions are Rackham ; Rackham, ch. This is particularly the case with the works of Theophrastos. Although he discusses both domestic and wild plants, his agenda is essentially philosophical: his aim is to attempt to organize botanical knowledge systematically. No real picture emerges of how the waste was exploited as an economic or social resource.

Uncultivated land: a definition? Sallares , —3. Reality is more complex. Land not actually under standing crops—for example, in stubble or fallow—is technically uncultivated, and may provide in some seasons short-term resources, especially grazing, comparable in importance to those provided by the scrub-covered hillsides. Some land may lie fallow for several years at a time yet still be considered agricultural. Indeed, some highly fertile low-lying plains seem to have had little or no cultivation in the last few centuries.

A considerable number, though by no means all, have been malarial areas, and it has often been argued that the presence of endemic malaria made permanent occupation by farmers as opposed to seasonal visits by transhumant pastoralists difficult or impossible. I do not wish to investigate this argument here, but it should be 1 The word used does not indicate willows Salix spp.

These lands in flat, fertile areas, even when, as in the past, technically uncultivated, are fundamentally different from the thin-soiled, scrub-covered mountainsides, and have been so conceptually categorized. They are different, too, from saltmarshes, the edges of which often support the tall reed, Arundo donax see p. Conversely, notionally uncultivated landscapes have been heavily modified, both intentionally and unintentionally, by human intervention.

High mountain forests have probably been cleared in recent centuries by the economic activities of woodcutters and shepherds Halstead , 80 , and by military action through the deliberate setting of forest fires as a way of denying cover to enemies, as is said by informants to have happened in parts of Crete during the Turkish occupation, and as certainly happened in parts of Greece during the civil war of the late s e.

Chatzigeorgiou Much of the scrub and tree vegetation, of lowland southern Greece at least, is both fire-adapted and readily combustible in the summer heat. Periodic scrub and forest fires can therefore be assumed to have a history that long predates agriculture in Greece. We must likewise assume that fires have frequently maintained wild vegetational communities in a state well short of full forest growth for millennia, irrespective of the effects of other forms of human exploitation. In the recent past, however, it is quite clear that most fires have had a human origin.

Some have been accidental, others deliberate, but all have acted as a selective pressure on the make-up of scrub and forest communities. Although careful management of numbers of grazing animals can be demonstrated in at least one area over some centuries Forbes n. Even uncultivated scrub plants in the waste may be carefully tended, pruned, and trained, as I shall indicate in 1. The relationships of grazing and fires to different plant communities are discussed in more detail by Rackham, pp. The ownership of uncultivated land: a common or garden issue? Ownership of uncultivated land is also varied and multifaceted.

Reality Base

In most mainland Greek rural communities today, as in the recent past, cultivated land is owned by individuals, while uncultivated land is essentially common land, owned by the community as a whole, and is managed by the village council via the mayor and the community secretary. This system is generally accepted as being derived from the period of Turkish occupation. However, whereas this is the formal, legal position, individuals—especially shepherds, but also charcoal-burners and others—have traditionally laid claim to use specific sections of uncultivated hillsides for specific purposes, such as grazing or woodcutting.

The boundaries of these territories are widely known to other users, and any infringement can expect very physical retaliation Koster and Forbes n. Thus, for example, in the southern Argolid, successful shepherds tend to be those with large kinship networks which provide the necessary muscle in disputes with other shepherds over the scrub-grazing of the waste Koster , —4.

The uncultivated hillsides are not inalienable, however. Although community ownership of uncultivated hillsides is the norm, in some parts of Greece—of which Methana, not far from the southern Argolid, is one and Crete another—even uncultivated hillsides may be individually owned. However, at least on Methana, individual ownership goes hand in hand with rights of common access to exploit certain aspects of the mountain environment. Animals may be grazed in these areas by all, and scrub may be cut for firewood, as long as the owner has not made it clear that these areas are reserved.

Thus the contradictions multiply. Where common ownership of uncultivated mountainsides is technically the law, in practice individuals claim exclusive rights to exploit certain products. On the other hand, in an area where uncultivated land is privately owned, all community members are normally allowed free access to exploit certain products.

On Methana this tradition of free access to individually owned, uncultivated land is extended to cultivated land where there are no standing crops, in certain welldefined situations. Thus, at particular times of year, large blocks of fallow terraces owned by many different farmers are open to all in the community for the grazing of their sheep and goats. What has been normal for thin-soiled uncultivated hillsides, however, has never, in recent centuries, held good for the uncultivated but potentially highly fertile plains that used to be a feature of the lowlands of Greece. In the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries their owners frequently made an income from the rents paid by shepherds for the right to graze their animals during the winter months, before returning them to the upland mountain pastures for the summer.

Such an interplay of the legal, the local, and the individual, if it existed in ancient Greece—as it probably did—is by its very nature unlikely to show up in ancient documents. The most likely sources to be of any relevance here are forensic speeches, though theoretically inscriptions might also touch on such matters. But forensic speeches are most likely to be concerned only with the formal, de jure situation. Modifications caused by de facto local practices are less likely to appear.

In this context we may briefly consider the implications of grants of epinomia the right to graze animals and epixylia the right to cut wood by poleis to non-citizens in honorary decrees such as. SEG xi. Grants of these rights are found in many different poleis: it is perhaps unwise to assume that the same thing is meant in all cases, particularly given the likely diversity of both the type and the extent of the waste from state to state. We certainly cannot be sure that such grants automatically indicate the presence of community-owned, uncultivated land.

Epinomia is mentioned more frequently than epixylia; in some states it may well have allowed grazing on community-owned land as may be the case in IG iv. It is not impossible that in some circumstances it meant the right to graze animals on privately owned fallow land, opened up as common grazing for part of the year, as occurs currently on Methana. We should also not exclude the possibility, though it may be remote, that the usage of the term in some states may have meant the right to own grazing-land, differentiated from the right to own cultivated land.

The rights of epinomia and epixylia were plainly important. Their significance, however, may frequently have been in the sphere of status at least as much as that of economics. It may indicate that the person mentioned had the same rights as citizens in all respects; it is not clear whether the rights were regularly exploited. Nevertheless, specific mention of these rights probably does give at least a hint of the importance of the uncultivated landscape in many states.

On occasions, contested rights to grazing-land, woodcutting, and stone-quarrying might be a cause for disputes between poleis as is indicated, for example, in SEG xi. In this section I wish to examine more systematically what a number of those uses are. In so doing I wish to emphasize, first, that it is not an exhaustive list, and, second, that in a functioning rural community the uncultivated landscape is indissolubly linked to the cultivated landscape in the organic whole that is the local economy. Third, not all of the uses listed here may be found in any one community.

Agricultural land One use of the waste is for conversion to cultivated land. The terraced hillsides that give so much of rural Greece its distinctive character seem completely ageless; yet they were all originally carved out of uncultivated hillsides. Herzegovina , ; Finland , ; France , ; Lithuania ; Norway ; Russia , , ; Serbia , ; Slovenia , Duse, Riccardo Dushchenko, I.

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