Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 October 2020
The exploration of this subject is based principally on epigraphic evidence, as illustrated in Hatzfeld’s ground-breaking work of 1919, to which may now be added the epigraphy of production and commerce, which goes hand in hand with trade and to which it owes its existence. The case studied here deals with the most westerly part of the Mediterranean, providing access to the continent through the network of routes from the areas around the Aquitaine isthmus and the Rhône isthmus as far as the Rhine and Garonne basins and out to the Atlantic Ocean. It looks at dynamic trends, phenomena which vary over time, just as contexts and economic circumstances may vary. These trends are integrated within the space formed by the routes created and used by people. The study deals with the commercial activities related to the production, transportation and consumption of goods, as well as the networks and directions of trade routes. Ports are important points of passage, places where goods are transferred, stored and distributed, as well as being the principal or secondary places of business.