The water supply of the city of Barcino during Antiquity

Carme Miró i Alaix (Archaeological Service of Barcelona) and GIAP (ICAC) researcher Hèctor A. Orengo will present in the forthcoming seminar “Climate Variability in the Roman World and Late Roman: Impact on the Barcelona Plan“, which will take place next Saturday, 12th November 2022.

Organised and hosted by:
Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA) Casa de l’Aigua, Ajuntament de Barcelona

12/11/22 11am CET
The water supply of the city of Bàrcino during Antiquity (L’abastiment d’aigua de la ciutat de Bàrcino durant l’Antiguitat)
Carme Miró i Alaix (Servei d’Arqueologia de Barcelona) and Hèctor A. Orengo (Institut Català d’Arqueologia Clàssica)

The talk will focus on the history of water catchment, distribution, use, and discharge from the Roman to the Modern period in the area of Barcelona.

The aqueduct and canals reflect the history of the city and bear witness to its needs, economic strategies, social struggles and ultimately conceptions. As such the history of Barcelona’s water is profoundly intertwined with that of the city. In this presentation, we will use the shape and architecture of the canals, their relationships with other elements of the city, textual sources, and the sediments accumulated within them to explain the relationship between water and society, while trying to explore the possible influence of climatic factors in the city’s water management strategies.

About the event:

Climate Variability in the Roman World and Late Roman: Impact on the Barcelona Plan

One of the main characteristics of the Mediterranean climate is its temporal variability, which in our region is particularly evident in the scarcity of water resources. However, the climate changes of the past had a great impact on the availability and use of a remarkable number of natural resources and, therefore, drastically affected the activity of the city.
As the city constitutes a space whose main function is not the production and extraction of terrestrial resources but their commercialization and consumption, climate changes mainly have an impact on the supply of biotic resources to the urban community. In this sense, they have a double impact on an urban environment like Bàrcino, causing transformations in the configuration of the urban and suburban ecosystem and affecting the availability of land resources. Some urban spaces can be directly altered by climate variability, especially in coastal environments, with modifications of the coastal front associated with sea level rise or floods caused by changes in the water regime of watercourses.

Translated from original post:

Original abstract (Catalan):

Variabilitat climàtica en el món romà i tardoromà: impacte sobre el pla de Barcelona

Una de les principals característiques del clima mediterrani és la seva variabilitat temporal, que en la nostra regió es manifesta molt especialment en l’escassetat dels recursos hídrics. Tanmateix, els canvis climàtics del passat tingueren una gran incidència en la disponibilitat i l’ús d’un nombre notable de recursos naturals i, per tant, afectaren dràsticament a l’abastiment i l’activitat de la ciutat.
Constituint la ciutat un espai la funció principal del qual no és la producció i l’extracció de recursos terrestres sinó la seva comercialització i el seu consum, els canvis climàtics tenen principalment una repercussió en l’abastiment de recursos biòtics a la comunitat urbana. En aquest sentit, incideixen doblement sobre un medi urbà com Bàrcino, provocant transformacions en la configuració de l’ecosistema urbà i suburbà i afectant la disponibilitat de recursos terrestres. Alguns espais urbans es poden veure directament alterats per la variabilitat climàtica, especialment en medis costaners, amb modificacions del front litoral associats a l’ascens marí o inundacions provocades per canvis en el règim hídric dels cursos d’aigua.

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