Productive work in households
Production activities in Phoenician and Punic settlements were often carried out in residential spaces. There was no strict separation of public and private areas. Productive tasks and work aimed at the care of the domestic group took place in the same spaces.
Archaeology shows us that inside some houses or in adjoining spaces, agricultural products were processed, thread was spun and woven, and diverse items were manufactured, including pottery and objects made of iron and other metals. The volume of manufacturing waste, tools and work installations in some houses indicates that in some cases this domestic production was for sale or trade. Likewise, some domestic groups were also heavily involved in other economic activities such as commerce. In some houses there is documented archaeological evidence of the involvement of domestic groups in trading relations and networks, including small weights used in the payment of commercial transactions and impressions of clay seals that had been attached to papyrus documents.
The domestic groups of the Phoenician and Punic communities played a very important role in their economies and their houses were one of the main settings for manufacturing and trading activities. The spatial distribution of production evidence in residential spaces indicates the prevalence of collaborative-type domestic economies in which all the members of the family group −men and women, youths, the elderly and children− took part in the production process or in some of its phases. The wellbeing of the family depended on the work of the group. The absence of the segregation of production and maintenance activities allowed such tasks to be carried out simultaneously, which would have facilitated the transmission of knowledge and learning in the bosom of the family group.
Picture: Pottery production. A productive activity undertaken by families in their houses. Illustrated by ªRU-MOR