Authored by: Willy Clarysse

The Routledge Handbook of Diet and Nutrition in the Roman World

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815364344
eBook ISBN: 9781351107334
Adobe ISBN:


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Our main source of information are papyri, thousands of which were found in houses, tombs and rubbish dumps, mainly in Middle Egypt, the Fayum and the Roman camps in the eastern desert. Information on eating and drinking is especially frequent in private letters and household and travelling accounts. Up to the late twentieth century, digging in Egypt was concentrated on finding papyri; other finds, such as bones or grains, were usually neglected. Recent excavations take account not only of animal and vegetal remains, but also of human bones, where the study of stable isotopes allows reconstruction of dietary patterns. 1 The archaeological record may be somewhat biased because most of it comes from desert sites, and reflects material imported from the Nile valley.

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