The Roman Peasant Project seeks to uncover the lived experience of the peasantry in the Roman period: their diet, economic activities, and social networks. We exploit a combination of field survey, geophysical exploration and targeted, rescue-style excavation, and place these results alongside evidence gleaned from historical, zoo-archaeological, archaeo-botanical and geological sources. Our aim is to produce 'thick descriptions' of the lives of the poorest rural inhabitants of this world, who formed perhaps as much as 90% of the population of the Mediterranean in antiquity.
Based in the Comune of Cinigiano, in the Provincia of Grosseto, Tuscany, our team comprises both Italian- and American-based scholars, along with their graduate and undergraduate students. Our objectives are threefold: to expand the study of Roman antiquity beyond the narrow confines represented by the urban-based aristocracies whose textual and material remains constitute the bulk of our sources; to provide our students with the necessary tools to undertake multi- and interdisciplinary research; and to work in collaboration with a contemporary rural community that hosts us each summer season.