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Landscape Change and Trade in Ancient Greece: Evidence from Pollen Data


  • Anton Bonnier

    (Uppsala University)

  • Tymon Sloczynski

    (Brandeis University and IZA)

  • Grzegorz Koloch

    (Warsaw School of Economics)

  • Katerina Kouli

    (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

  • Adam Izdebski

    (Jagiellonian University in Krakow and Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History)


In this paper we use pollen data from a number of sites in southern Greece and Macedonia to study long-term vegetation change in these regions from 1000 BCE to 600 CE. Based on insights from environmental history, we interpret our estimated trends in the regional presence of cereal, olive, and vine pollen as proxies for structural changes in agricultural production. We present evidence that there was a market economy in ancient Greece and a major trade expansion several centuries before the Roman conquest. Our results are consistent with auxiliary data on settlement dynamics, shipwrecks, and ancient oil and wine presses.

Suggested Citation

  • Anton Bonnier & Tymon Sloczynski & Grzegorz Koloch & Katerina Kouli & Adam Izdebski, 2018. "Landscape Change and Trade in Ancient Greece: Evidence from Pollen Data," Working Papers 126, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
  • Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:126

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ferdinand Rauch & Stephan Maurer & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2018. "Of Mice and Merchants: Trade and Growth in the Iron Age," Economics Series Working Papers 854, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Robert Allen & Robert C. Allen, 2007. "How Prosperous were the Romans? Evidence from Diocletian`s Price Edict (301 AD)," Economics Series Working Papers 363, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Banaji, Jairus, 2007. "Agrarian Change in Late Antiquity: Gold, Labour, and Aristocratic Dominance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199226030.
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    More about this item


    agricultural production; ancient Greece; environmental history; market integration; pollen data; trade;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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