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Title: An archaeobotanical analysis of Silchester and the wider region across the late Iron Age-Roman transition
Author: Lodwick, Lisa A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 3687
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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The separation of agricultural practice from urban communities has long been understood as a key defining feature of urban societies. This thesis investigates the relationship between developments in agriculture and urbanisation in Late Iron Age and Roman Britain. The Late Iron Age period saw the rise of oppida, characterised by extensive dyke systems, the presence of elites and imported material culture. Three models of the agricultural basis of oppida are currently available: agricultural innovations, surplus production, and non-arable settlements. These three models have been evaluated through three methods: the analysis of charred, waterlogged and mineralised plant remains from Silchester, an oppidum and civitas capital in southern Britain; the quantitative analysis of secondary archaeobotanical data from the regional area of the Hampshire Downs and the Thames Valley; and the synthesis of archaeobotanical evidence for food and agriculture at oppida and Roman towns in Britain. Key findings are that spelt wheat and barley were cultivated at Late Iron Age Silchester in combination with a new crop (flax), new management techniques (hay meadows) and the consumption of new plant foods (olives, celery and coriander). Following the establishment of the Roman civitas capital, the agricultural basis continued unchanged for several decades before a re-organisation c. AD70/80, whereby crop-processing ceased within Silchester. The regional crop-processing and weed ecology analysis shows that arable farming was conducted at Silchester, and that large-scale handling of cereals was not occurring unlike at earlier hillforts, and later towns. The evidence for animal stabling, flax cultivation, haymaking, and new plant foods from Silchester are interpreted as representing the coalescence of a rural population, developing new farming techniques to cope with the nucleated population, and therefore supportive of internal models of oppida development.
Supervisor: Robinson, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archeology ; Roman archeology ; Archaeobotany; Agriculture ; Iron Age Britain ; Roman Britain