Olive and Olive Oil in Albania, From Antiquity Until the Middle Ages
AbstractThe olive it‟s the most important tree of the Mediterranean, its domestication has begun during the Neolithic in Greece, 6000 years BC, and about this time in Albania, due to its closeness with continental Greece. Planting increased in the 8th and 7th centuries BC and from the 5th century BC the olive was the tree of the Hellenistic world. The cultivation of olive and preparation of olive oil in Albania was the same as that of the neighboring territories; the most popular was the roman milling system, trapetum. This evidence is attested in the cities, small centers or rural settlements that are located in the Adriatic and Ionian Coast, which have a suitable climate for its cultivation. For the medieval period the cultivation, production and the circulation of the olive oil are in less in amount and regional. In the preparation of olive oil, in the family setting, were used the same procedures as in antiquity. The milling was done with millstones that perpetuated the roman trapetum, powered by animals. From the number of olive trees per family and of the olive mills used in the Albania is attested that their dimensions were mostly for family production or at most for the regional market. In the beginning of the modern era, the cultivation of the olive was consolidated and increased helped by the repopulation of the areas when the olive was cultivated. Apart from the written sources, an important place takes the archaeological finds, like the oil mills found in Bylis, Kostar, Kamenicë, Sinjë, ect., which belong to late antiquity and the middle ages. At the beginning of the modern era, olive cultivation was consolidated and expanded due to the repopulation of the olive-growing zones, to general demographic growth.
Keywords: olive tree, olive oil, trapetum, antiquity, oil presses, antiquity, middle ages.
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