The Bountiful Sea Conference

By Green Pasture Products  January 24, 2017

The Bountiful Sea Conference will be held September 6-8, 2017 at the Loannou Centre, University of Oxford in Oxford, England. We will offer a giveaway to this event ... please stay tuned!

"In recent years, Mediterranean fish production has proved a dynamic field for new research. The Fish and Ships conference in Rome (2012) and Marzano’s monograph on Harvesting the Sea (2013) represent major contributions to the topic, and they highlight the wealth of evidence now available. However, study of Mediterranean fish exploitation requires integration of diverse areas of specialist knowledge, and our investigation of fish processing needs to be better linked with the social and economic implications of fish consumption. Classical archaeologists and historians explore an invaluable body of ancient evidence, but to make progress integration of contemporary and experimental approaches is also needed. Effective cross-disciplinary collaboration and a solid understanding of ecology and culinary science are crucial to fully appreciating Mediterranean fish exploitation. Only with input from chefs, biochemists, bone specialists, and conservationists can we achieve a comprehensive view of fish production and consumption in antiquity and appreciate its contribution to the modern Mediterranean.

The Bountiful Sea conference will gather archeologists, scientists, cooks, and classical scholars to discuss new evidence for fish exploitation and new perspectives on the manufacture, transport and consumption of fish-based products in Mediterranean antiquity. The meeting aims to 1) demonstrate the potential of different types of evidence for the study of Mediterranean fish processing, 2) encourage interdisciplinary discussion and the integration of different lines of research, and 3) present novel methods for future investigation of fish exploitation. As such, the meeting will have a broad geographic scope that encompasses the entire Mediterranean basin as well as examples of Mediterranean traditions found in other regions. 

Academic Program

The Bountiful Sea’s academic program will feature two full days of academic papers by specialists in ancient fish processing, zooarchaeology, and biochemical analyses. We anticipate papers will be approximately 25 minutes in length. The meeting has already attracted researchers from three continents, and a further call for posters will be circulated in due course. We aim to publish conference proceedings in 2018.

Confirmed Speakers

Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen, Dario Bernal Casasola, Emmanuel Botte, Oliver Craig, Sónia Gabriel, Nicolas Garnier, Sally Grainger, Carl Heron, Kristine Korzow Richter, Ephraim Lytle, Annalisa Marzano, Arturo Morales-Muñiz, Dimitra Mylona, Rebecca Nicholson, Efi Ragia, Mark Robinson, Tatiana Theodoropoulou, Athena Trakadas, Susan Weingarten, John Wilkins, Irit Zohar

Culinary Progam

How can we understand ancient fish and fish products if we never experience them ourselves?

The Bountiful Sea meeting will include an innovative culinary program that invites participants to engage with Roman fish products and fish-based dishes. Demonstrations and tastings will showcase Roman flavours and offer researchers new insight into how fish products were made.

Roman Fish Feast

The Bountiful Sea will open with a Roman banquet, featuring re-created sumptuous Roman dishes - a chance to try the best of Apicus and Cicero’s favourite saltfish frittata!

Fish Sauce Demonstrations

Explanation of the art and science behind Roman fish fermentation and presentation of re-created sauces. Taste fish-based dips and condiments using these ingredients.

Modern Mezze

Participants are invited to bring traditional preserved fish from their regions, which will be presented and shared with the re-created Roman sauces during the evening reception.


The conference will open with a plenary lecture and Roman Fish Feast on the evening of Wednesday 6 September. The academic sessions will take place over the two subsequent days (Thursday 7 – Friday 8 September), followed by receptions in the evenings. The Friday reception (8 September) will include presentations and tasting of fish-based products recreated from ancient recipes.

A half day workshop of members of the Mediterranean Fish Special Interest Group, a section of the ICAZ Fish Remains Working Group, will be held before the conference on the afternoon of Wednesday 6 September.

Optional excursion - special tours/handling sessions in the Ashmolean and Oxford University Museum of Natural History - will be available the Saturday following the event (on September 9, 2017)." 

See all the details in the online conference brochure, and the website for the event.

Categories:   Conferences
Tags:   Fermented Fish


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