The impact of a changing environment on human society and, conversely, the impact of man’s activities upon the environment are important and contentious subjects today. Climatic and environmental change have also been credited with bringing about major shifts in human history. One such case is that of the decline of Roman North Africa and its conquest by the Arabs. The evidence for this process is, however, far from clear-cut, and Professor Shaw’s concern in these studies is firstly to re-examine what is known, from both archaeological and written sources, and how it has been interpreted, work which has led to some substantial revisions of accepted accounts. In the final three articles he turns to analyse how Roman society functioned on the edge of the desert and, in particular, to investigate the careful exploitation and control of critical water resources.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Archaeology and knowledge: the history of the African provinces of the Roman Empire; Climate, environment and prehistory in the Sahara; Climate, environment, and history: the case of Roman North Africa; The camel in Roman North Africa and the Sahara: history, biology, and human economy; Water and society in the ancient Maghrib: technology, property and development; Lamasba: an ancient irrigation community; The noblest monuments and the smallest things: wells, walls and aqueducts in the making of Roman Africa; Index.
'Throughout his career, Shaw has been a breaker of accepted icons...Variorum Press is to be commended for producing a set of volumes that makes a significant portion of the author’s splendid work available in one place. Canadian Journal of History...This collection...is a model of careful scholarship in both environmental and social history.' Canadian Journal of History Joint review with Rulers, Nomads and Christians in Roman North Africa 'Over two decades, Brent Shaw has contributed enormously to our understanding of ancient North Africa and the present volume will make his papers, many of them influential, more accessible to students and to a wider audience.' Journal of Political Ecology, Vol. 4