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Title: Roman towns as meaning-laden places : reconceptualising the growth and decline of towns in Roman Britain
Author: Rogers, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 9271
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis reanalyses the beginnings and endings of towns in Roman Britain through a critical examination of the archaeological terms of growth and decline. The early phases on the sites of towns provide a context for action and the first part of the thesis examines the evidence for activity in the immediate pre-conquest period. It establishes aspects of the meaning of the sites and the way in which they survived and had an impact on experiences and understandings of the areas into the Roman period. The significance of these sites as places continued into the later Roman period. The second part of the thesis looks at aspects of continuity and transformation within towns in the later Roman period. The importance of these sites as places continuing into the later Roman period contrasts with the more economically-dominated notion of decline. The thesis examines evidence for the use of public buildings in the late-third, fourth and early-fifth centuries (and beyond) demonstrating that many remained significant foci of activity and that decline is a simplistic theory for interpreting the material. The themes discussed include 'industrial' activity, structural changes to buildings, timber structures within buildings and 'squatter occupation'. A wider perspective is introduced at the end of the study by also examining Roman towns of France and Spain. An important part of reanalysing decline is an examination of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788), its reception and its impact upon archaeology including the study of late Roman towns, the 'Golden Age' and pre-Roman place. The historical and social context in which Roman archaeology developed, together with widerscale changes from the Renaissance onwards, will have had an impact upon the way in which themes such as place and transformation have been studied. The evidence indicates that towns remained important symbolic, but also viable and functioning, places in the later Roman period despite exhibiting changes in the organisation and appearance of public buildings and urban space. This reanalysis ofthe evidence for two important phases of these places provides a more challenging context in which to set the 'Golden Age' and approach Roman urbanism in the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available