Book Chapter

Invention, Tinkering, or Transfer? Innovation in Oil and Wine Presses in the Roman Empire

Tamara Lewit

Capital, Investment, and Innovation in the Roman World | Oxford University Press | Published : 2020


A conceptual framework derived from Cato, Pliny, and Hero has dominated historical discussions of Roman innovation, which have focussed on the progressive adaptation of a screw to oil and wine presses within the chronology of the 1st century BCE to mid 1st century CE. Writers working from archaeological evidence, however, have made clear that innovation in presses was not confined to a single invention, spread uniformly in the 1st century. These studies, not yet integrated into historical discussions of innovation and the economy in the Roman world, demonstrate that a great variety of press innovations occurred in a multitude of regions and micro-regions. Based on both archaeological and tex..

View full abstract