The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World highlights both the accomplishments of the ancient societies and remaining research problems, and stimulates further progress in the history of ancient technology. The subject matter of the book is the technological framework of the Greek and Roman cultures from ca. 800 bc through ca. ad 500 in the circum-Mediterranean world and Northern Europe. Each article discusses a technology or family of technologies from an analytical rather than a descriptive point of view, providing a critical summation of our present knowledge of Greek and Roman accomplishments in the technology concerned and the evolution of their technical capabilities over the chronological period. Each article reviews the issues and recent contributions, and defines the capacities and accomplishments of the technology in the context of the society that used it, the available “technological shelf,” and the resources consumed. These studies introduce and synthesize the results of excavation or specialized studies. The articles are organized in sections progressing from sources (written and representational) to primary (e.g. mining, metallurgy, agriculture) and secondary (e.g. woodworking, glass production, food preparation, textile production, and leather-working) production, to technologies of social organization and interaction (e.g. roads, bridges, ships, harbors, warfare, and fortification), and finally to studies of general social issues (e.g. writing, timekeeping, measurement, scientific instruments, and attitudes toward technology and innovation) and the relevance of ethnographic methods to the study of classical technology.
Keywords: Greek culture, Roman culture, ancient mining, ancient metallurgy, ancient agriculture, ancient woodworking, ancient glass, ancient food preparation, ancient textiles, ancient leather-working