What was the relationship between city and country in the Roman Empire? The writings which have been preserved show an enormous empire, divided into "cells", each with a city at its centre. But the written sources are few, and focus mainly on the cities of Italy; they do not tell what life was like in the Roman provinces. Through systematic studies of the ancient landscape in Northern Tunisia, archaeologists have reconstructed the day-to-day history and economic activity of the rural population around the city of Segermes. Over 100 persons have been involved in this joint Danish-Tunisian project. The findings presented in these two volumes indicate that in Roman times, the valley was given over to intensive cultivation of wheat and olives, maintained at a high output level by means of extensive irrigation works. The population was dense and, surprisingly, reached its peak between 350 and 550 AD, a period of economic decline elsewhere in the Roman Empire.
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