The present thesis is a study of Mediterranean trade 400-250 BC through an examination of transport amphorae from the ancient Cyrenaican city of Euesperides (Benghazi), Libya.
The material comes from excavations conducted from 1999-2006 by the Society for Libyan Studies. Amphorae were used for the transportation of commodities such as wine and olive oil. Found in great numbers at the site they testify to the city’s trading contacts in the ancient Mediterranean.
The amphorae from Euesperides contribute significantly to altering our views on the extent and organisation of maritime trade for the period studied. Trade was not regionally-bounded; instead commodities were traded over long distances and along many parallel, inter-regional trade routes. Euesperides was a node in this system of inter-locking Mediterranean markets.
The thesis thus demonstrates how a study of quantified amphorae can give a much fuller and richer understanding of trading contacts than traditional approaches focusing on stamped amphora handles. The results obtained provide a set of data from Euesperides which can be used as a point of reference and departure for other studies.