Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 4-2 (April 2013)Laura I. Kooistra; Marieke van Dinter; Monica K. Dütting; Pauline van Rijn; Chiara Cavallo: Could the local population of the Lower Rhine delta supply the Roman army? Part 1: The archaeological and historical framework
4. The rural population in the Rhine delta

4.2 Rural population

The size of the rural population is deducted from the average number of farms per settlement and an average number of people per farm; the so-called settlement model. Based on ethnographic research, a household is assumed to have consisted of five to eight people of different ages and sexes (Bloemers 1978, 55; Willems 1986, 236; Vos 2009, 213). If we follow Vos's assumptions and take an average of 2.5 households per settlement, the agrarian population would have consisted of around 3400 people (210x2.5x(5+8)/2). The actual number will probably have been lower, since it is unknown how many settlements were contemporaneous. The settlements in the peat and coastal region were probably also smaller than those in the river area. It does seem likely that the size of the consuming military population including the vicani was at least twice the size of the food-producing rural population. In other words, from the 40s A.D. onward, every production unit or farming family (=210 x 2.5= 525) would have had to produce food for at least ten soldiers (=(9x500)+(1x>500)) and twenty soldiers and vicani (= {[(9x500)+(1x>500)]x2}) from the end of the 1st century onward.