This introductory chapter provides an overview on how the sea and coastal lagoons were an essential component of the land and natural resources utilized by Rome's pre-industrial society. It explains the importance of using information on modern traditional fishing techniques and ethnographic material in the analysis of the ancient evidence, as fishing methods and techniques have remained substantially unchanged through the centuries from antiquity until very recent times. It sets out the aims of the book: to offer a general study of the various production activities centred on and around the sea in the Roman period, and to analyse their role in regional economies, and their social and organizational structure. It defines the scope of the study, the type of sources used and their limitations, anticipates some of the key points that emerged from the study, and gives an outline of the topics treated in each chapter.
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