chapter  IV
Pastoral Pursuits: Ranching and Grazing on the Frontier
Pages 24

Wehaveconcentrate~onagriculturaldevelopmentinourdiscu·:sionof theeconomiesandsocietiesoftheRomanEmpire'sfrontierdistr.ctsfora numberofreasons.Thesupplyofwheatwasthefrrstandmostpressing needinfeedingthearmy,andthevillasthatincreasedcerealproductionalongthefrontierleftremainsthatcanbeuncoveredandanalyzed byarchaeologists.Itispossibleinthiswaytofixthesitesofagriculturalexploitationandtotracetheirevolutionovertime.Thesame cannotbesaidforhusbandryandranching.Theseactivities,evenifpracticedonalargescale,leavefewdetectablemarksonthelandscape;nor aretheyfixedinplace,asagricultureisfixedtositeswitharablelandor capitalimprovements.Ranchingsitescanbeshiftedwitheaseovergreat distances.Althoughonecandetermineagreatdealfromthestudyof animalremains,suchasbones,foundatcentersofconsumption,these remainsofferlittleinformationastotheirorigin.Sinceanimalscan walk,ranchingisfarlessaffectedthanagriculturebytheneedtolocate nearexistingtransportationroutes.Nevertheless,nodiscussionofthe economicdevelopmentandsocialstructureoftheempire'sfrontierdistrictswouldbecompletewithoutaconsiderationofpastoralpursuits. Agricultureandpastoralism,togetherwithminingandforestry,werethe principalmeansofbothexploitingoftheresourcesofthefrontierand fillingthebasicneedsofthearmyforsuppliesandmaterials.