Want to find out more?

A lot has been written on the world of Roman food, based on archaeological evidence, art and the works of ancient authors. Much of this is in academic journal articles and monographs, only available in specialist libraries or behind pay-walls online. There are, however, some fantastic widely available books, and increasing numbers of journal articles and books are available ‘open access’ online. If you know of any fantastic open access material on Roman food, please let us know!


General Overviews

Cool, H. 2006. Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dalby, A. 2003. Food in the Ancient World from A to Z. London: Routledge.

Wilkins, J., Harvey, D. and Dobson, M. 1995. Food in Antiquity. Exeter: University of Exeter Press.

Classical Texts

Dalby, A. 1998. Cato. On Farming. De Agricultura: a modern translation with commentary. Blackawton: Prospect Books.

Grocock, W. and Grainger, S. 2006. Apicius: a Critical Edition with an Introduction and an English Translation of the Latin Recipe Text Apicius. Totnes: Prospect.

Modern Studies on Food

Pratt, J. and Luetchford, P. 2014. Food for Change: the politics and values of social movements. London: Pluto Press.

Open Access articles


Groot, M. and Kooistra, L. 2009 Land use and the agrarian economy in the Roman Dutch River area. Internet Archaeology 27. http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.27.5

Hawkes, G. 2002. Wolves’ nipples and otters’ noses? Rural foodways in Roman Britain. In Carruthers, M., van Driel-Murray, C., Gardner, A., Lucas, J. Revell, L., and
Swift, E. (eds.) TRAC 2001: Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual
Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (pp.45-50). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Meadows, K. 1994. You are what you eat: diet, identity and
Romanisation. In Cottam, S., Dungworth, D., Scott, S., and Taylor, J. (eds.) TRAC 94:
Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology
Conference (pp.133-140). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Archaeobotanical studies – ancient plant remains

Bakels, C. C., Wesselingh, D., & Amen, I. 1997. Acquiring a taste: the diet of Iron Age and Roman period farmers at Oss-Ussen, the Netherlands. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia, 29, 193–211.

Challinor, D., & de Moulins, D. 2013. Charred plant remains. In W Aylward (Ed.), Excavations at Zeugma (pp. 411–432). Los Altos: The Packard Humanities Institute.

Ciaraldi, M. & Richardson, J. 2000. Food, ritual and rubbish in the making of
Pompeii. In Fincham, G., Harrison, G. Rodgers Holland, R., and Revell, L. (eds.)
TRAC 99: Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology
Conference (pp. 74-82). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Tomlinson, P., & Hall, A. R. 1996. A review of the archaeological evidence for food plants from the British Isles: an example of the use of the Archaeobotanical Computer Database (ABCD). Internet Archaeology, (1). Council for British Archaeology. doi:10.11141/ia.1.5

Artefacts related to food

Cool, H. E. M. 2004. Some notes on Spoons and Mortaria. In Croxford, B., Eckardt, H., Meade, J., and Weekes, J. (eds.) TRAC 2003: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Theoretical Roman
Archaeology Conference (pp.28-35). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Osteoarchaeology – human remains

Cummings, C. 2009. Meat consumption in Roman Britain: the evidence from stable isotopes. In Driessen, M., Heeren, S., Hendriks, J., Kemmers, F., and Visser, R. (eds.)  TRAC 2008: Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Theoretical
Roman Archaeology Conference (pp. 73-83). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Lösch S, Moghaddam N, Grossschmidt K, Risser DU and Kanz F. 2014 Stable isotope and trace element studies on Gladiators and contemporary Romans from Ephesus (Turkey, 2nd and 3rd Ct. AD) – Implications for Differences in Diet. PLoS ONE 9(10): e110489. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110489


Pitts, M. 2006. Consumption, deposition and social practice: a ceramic approach to intra-site analysis in late Iron Age to Roman Britain, Internet Archaeology 21. http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.21.2

Tyers, P. 1996. Roman amphoras in Britain. Internet Archaeology, (1). Council for British Archaeology. doi:10.11141/ia.1.6

Willis, S. 2004 ‘Samian Pottery, a Resource for the Study of Roman Britain and Beyond: the results of the English Heritage funded Samian Project. An e-monograph’, Internet Archaeology 17. http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.17.1

Zooarchaeology – animal remains

Maltby, M. 2007. Chop and change: specialist cattle carcass
processing in Roman Britain. In Croxford, B. Ray, N., Roth, R., and White, N. (eds.) TRAC
2006: Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology
Conference (pp. 59-76). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Orton, D., Morris, J., Locker, A., and Barrett, J. 2014. Fish for the city: meta-analysis of
archaeological cod remains and the growth of London’s northern trade. Antiquity 88: 516-530.

Robeerst, A.  Interaction and exchange in food production in
the Nijmegen frontier area during the Early Roman
period. In Bruhn, J., Croxford, B., and Grigoropoulos D. (eds.). TRAC 2004:
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology
Conference (pp. 79-96). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Stallibrass, S. 2000. Cattle, culture, status and soldiers in Northern
England. In Fincham, G., Harrison, G. Rodgers Holland, R., and Revell, L. (eds.)
TRAC 99: Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology
Conference (pp. 64-73). Oxford: Oxbow Books.


Raff, K. “The Roman Banquet”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/banq/hd_banq.htm (October 2011)

Resources for Schools

Times Educational Supplement. Ancient Roman food and drink. Lesson plan.

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