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Crake Fellow LectureMarch 2, 2020
Please join the Classics Department and the J.E.A. Crake Foundation for this year’s Crake Fellow Lecture. All are welcome to this public talk given by Mr. David Wallace-Hare, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. The lecture will be on Monday, March 2nd at 4:30pm at the Owens Art Gallery. There will be a small reception beforehand at 4:15pm.
Title: “Healing the Future With the Past: Replicating and Repurposing Roman Honey”
Interest in beekeeping is growing because of the decline of bees worldwide and potential impacts on global agricultural production and food security. Accordingly, aspects of beekeeping in all historical periods are increasingly being scrutinized to understand and develop models of sustainable practices. The history of European beekeeping has only been sporadically studied, in part due to a lack of tools to study certain periods, while other reasons are ideological. We know that the eastern and western Iberian Peninsula were prolific beekeeping zones during the Roman period as numerous ceramic hives found on both coasts and several ancient sources suggest, such hives largely disappeared in the late third to fourth centuries CE, when a wider move to hives made out of lighter and better insulated but biodegradable materials like cork, log, or wicker took place. By contrast, ceramic honeypots were used in the Iberian Peninsula throughout the Roman, Late Antique, medieval, early modern, and modern periods. The Iberian Peninsula, therefore, seems to represent a special opportunity for scholars researching the archaeology of beekeeping across time and we now have a variety of archaeological tools, some established, some novel, with which to recreate aspects of Roman beekeeping in terms of forage plant selection, for instance. The 2020 J. E. A. Crake Fellow Lecture explores what sustainable practices can be extracted from studying Roman beekeeping and why they are important.