Amber Trade and Amber Roads

Interactive marketing amber and amber road map

  • Territories of raw amber collecting
  • Amber routes of the Bronze Age (21000-6000 BC) and the Early Iron Age (5th century BC – 1st century AD)
  • The Roman period continental amber routes (1st – 4th century; the most intensive developing during the 1st – 3rd century)
  • Amber waterway (the most intensively used from the 3rd century)
  • The Roman Wall (Limes Romanus)
  • The main centres of Amber routes

Fectio was a Roman castellum (Lat. castellum – small Roman detached fort).

It was established in the Province of Germania. By the Fectio a harbour settlement began to create because of the trade developing there. The importance of Fectio port increased in the 3rd century when continental amber routes became insecure and amber waterways became essential.

Kalisz – one of the largest stopping areas for merchant’s caravans in amber route.

This fact is substantiated by archaeological data (The Roman import). Kalisz, in the 2nd century, is mentioned by the ancient geographer, philosopher, poet Claudius Ptolemy in his work Geographia.

Wroclaw – Amber route marketplace.

At the same time it was a stopping area for merchants in the surroundings of Wroclaw. In 1936 in this area three amber treasures (warehouses) were found. The total weight of these treasures was around 3 000 kg.

Opole – one of the more important spots in the trade route.

There was a marketplace in this area. Opole city, as well as Wroclaw, is situated on the Oder River, which was one of the arteries of amber route at the time.

Kłodzko – Amber routes intersection centre.

Amber route from the South to a coast of the Baltic Sea stretched through Kłodzko mountain pass.

Lentia – Fortress of the Northern Roman Wall (Limes Romanus)

This Roman military camp was established for the protection of Pannonia in the Province of Noricum. Subsequently, it grew into a significant amber trade centre.

Vindobona (Vienna) – Fortress of the Northern Roman Wall (Limes Romanus).

Vindobona was the Celtic settlement and later the Roman military camp in the Noricum Province of Pannonia. By the Roman military camp settled down the town of civilians, which administrative centre was Carnuntum (Lat. Carnuntum). It was a trade centre of amber route with well-developed infrastructure.

Carnuntum (Petronell-Carnuntum) – Province of the Northern Roman Wall (Limes Romanus).

This Roman military camp was established for the protection of Roman borders in the Noricum Province. In the 1st century Carnuntum became the capital of the Upper Pannonia. While in the 2nd Carnuntum was already a municipium (Aelium Carnuntum) – town which had the law of local government and the privilege of Roman citizens. There was the complex of town dwellers houses and baths. It also was the main and largest centre of amber trade.

Aqvincum (Budapest) – Fortress of the Northern Roman Wall (Limes Romanus).

This Roman military camp was established for the protection of Roman borders at first. Subsequently, it grew into a large, significant village-trading centre in the region of the Pannonia. There were private houses of the wealthy citizens, the complex of town baths, two amphitheatres.

Aquileia – Roman Empire town.

The largest quantities of raw amber merchants transported to Aquileia by the ancient paved roads of the Empire. There was one of the largest amber processing manufactory, where various amber articles for a choosy Roman taste were produced. Part of the articles reached Barbarian world (named by the Romans). Aquileia amber manufactories worked until the second half of the 2nd century.

 

Amber roads were continental and waterways which were used to transport amber from the main amber excavating centres (on the coast of the Baltic Sea) to the Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Egypt, and other places. Amber trade and exchange began in the Stone Age. The first amberarticles in Europe appeared during the Mesolithic period (13000 to 5000 years BC). In the Neolithic periodthe number of amber articles increased. Amber articles of this period were found on thecoasts of the Baltic Sea, in the present day territory of Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark. In Bronze Age and Iron Age amber trade continued. Trade routes, connecting a lot of historical places, covered the whole continent of Europe. Amber Road linked such distant and completely opposite cultures like the ancient Greek and Rome civilisations with the tribes of the Central and Northern Europe and Asia.

Up to now scientists are struggling to trace the territory, where lived genteAestiorum described by Tacitus. According to Tacitus, ‘[they] scavenge the sea, they are the only ones collecting amber in shallows, and they named it glesum.’

At the time (the late 2ndcentury – the 3rd century) when the import from the Roman provinces Gaul and the banks of Rhine reached the peak, Marcomanni tribes of the Central Europe began to antagonize. During the Roman – Marcomanni war continental amber route decreased significantly. Because of the insecurity of continental routes the importance of amber waterways increased.

Amber trade continued during the Middle Ages, however the scale of it was considerably lower.

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