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Tilling the Hateful EarthAgricultural Production and Trade in the Late Antique East$
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Michael Decker

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565283

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565283.001.0001

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Mixed Farming and Limited Specialization

Mixed Farming and Limited Specialization

Methods and Means of Intensification

Chapter:
(p.204) 7 Mixed Farming and Limited Specialization
Source:
Tilling the Hateful Earth
Author(s):

Michael Decker (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565283.003.0008

Chapter 7 continues to explore agrarian change, by examining the means of intensification. As arable land became more restricted, and less favourable plots in dry regions came to be relied upon, late antique farmers resorted to increasingly intensive farming methods. This chapter argues that the crop monoculture, though often assumed, was rare to non-existent, and that the more common practice was a mixed agricultural regime of small-scale animal husbandry combined with intensive orchard and vine cropping with cereals squeezed into the matrix where possible, not dominating it, as has been presumed. The adaptation of new crops is proposed. Finally, the increasing use of irrigation (qanat and saqiya systems) implies great investment in agrarian structures both in terms of labour and money investment.

Keywords:   agrarian change, means of intensification, dry regions, intensive farming methods, crop monoculture, mixed agricultural regime, small-scale animal husbandry, orchard cropping, vine cropping, irrigation

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