Mapping the agricultural surfaces of Attica

The agricultural capacity of Attica is an ongoing debate among Ancient Historians. At this stage, I have no wish to take a position in it. Here, I am only interested in mapping the agricultural surfaces at the global level in order to understand the main concentrations of agricultural land in Attica.

Using GIS, I mapped Dvorkin’s soil map, the IGME geological maps, and added the current CORINE land use data. With the help of a DEM, I then selected the slopes of Attica between 0-7%, the only ones that could sustain grain production without terracing. By intersecting this slope selection with the previously selected agricultural surface, I outlined two categories of agricultural land: Cat. A (in yellow) has a slope of 0-3%, and Cat. B (in green) has a slope of 3-7%. ┬áThe results are shown below for the whole of Attica.

agr_A_B_low copie

The supposed surface of agricultural land under a slope of 7% was 875 sq km; this is 35% of Attica (surface of ca. 2500 sq km). With fallow, half of it could be cultivated each year, thus 17,5%. Obviously this model is global and therefore has its limits. However, these global surface figures are based on precise geological and geomorphological data. The result is an estimate of the current potential, not the ancient land use, as the percentages of land dedicated to grain, olive and vine will always remain unknown.